A Gateway To Pain, Frustration

By Gbenga Salau   |   22 November 2015   |   12:57 am  
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A deplorable section of the road PHOTO: GBENGA SALAU

THE Lagos-Badagry Road is usually referred to as ‘Gateway to the West Coast’. It connects many West African states. Countries within the region have huge trading activities with Nigeria, the economic hub of West Africa, with the Lagos-Badagry road serving as major artery for the transportation of goods and services. Given this importance, the road should speak a positive image about Nigeria. Sadly, it is characterised by potholes and frustrating traffic gridlocks.

The road may be divided into two sections: Mile2 to Okoko, and Okoko to Badagry/Seme. From Okoko to Badagry, commuting is hellish, to put it mildly, as a result of potholes and gullies, especially at the Ijanikin and Agbara axis. On both sides of Mechanic and Iyana-Ishasi bus stops, a long stretch of potholes forces motorists to a crawl and sometimes stand still.

Magbo, Agbomalu, Alade-Alafia and Princess Paint bus stops are other areas that need urgent intervention. The potholes have grown into gullies and efforts at patching them up with bricks look so much like moving against an elephant with bow and arrow. The result: continued suffering of commuters.

On the way to Okoko, from Badagry (before Agbara bus stop), is a big pothole; crater actually. Another sits in front of College of Education and Federal Government College, Ijanikin. There are so many of these at Agbara bus stop. The peculiar hectic traffic often experienced in this spot, however, is due to the activities of drivers who pick passengers on the road, and traders doing business.

The sluggish traffic in Mile2 is caused by the unruly behaviour of commercial bus drivers and potholes on the two-track service lane of the Lagos-Badagry expressway. Ironically, the potholes are on a new road waiting to be commissioned by the state government. Two points are particularly bad: the Durbar junction on the way to Mazamaza, and Mile2 Oke when heading to Orile. These portions have been graded and tarred five times over but the potholes have persisted.

From Mile2 to Okoko, on the Lagos-Badagry Road, should not take more than a 20-minute drive. But commuters spend hours. A maintenance project along the route, started in 2009 and meant to alleviate the sufferings of road users, remains unfinished, causing further hardship, especially at sections where construction is on-going.

Gridlock flashpoints are Okoko, Alaba-rago, Iyana, Volks, Barracks, Trade Fair, Abule-Ado, Alakija and Mile2 bus stops. Although there are potholes at each of these places, indiscipline among commercial drivers appears to contribute more to the traffic pile up. Also to blame are the activities of petty traders who display their wares indiscriminately and take up space meant for pedestrians and commercial drivers.

Okoko and Iyana Iba bus stops are major points for vehicles ferrying passengers to different parts of Lagos. Consequently, both spots are beehives of traffic, with people alighting from or boarding buses, and commercial transport operators competing for passengers. The park is either not big enough or the drivers are simply not making wise use of it. Whichever, the resultant pressure manifest in the perennial traffic jams on this route.

At Volks bus stop, potholes also slow down traffic. But two U-turns and an intersection that bring in vehicles from the Ojo area to the expressway complicate an already bad situation. Road traffic officers and policemen drafted to maintain order are often overwhelmed, as the place turns chaotic, often with commercial operators driving against traffic at peak periods.

The sluggish traffic in Mile2 is caused by the unruly behaviour of commercial bus drivers and potholes on the two-track service lane of the Lagos-Badagry expressway. Ironically, the potholes are on a new road waiting to be commissioned by the state government. Two points are particularly bad: the Durbar junction on the way to Mazamaza, and Mile2 Oke when heading to Orile. These portions have been graded and tarred five times over but the potholes have persisted.

At some of these gridlocked spots along the route are officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) but they often appear indifferent because they have run out of ideas. Rather than waste time in stagnant traffic, some commuters choose to alight from commercial buses and walk. This is especially the case between Iyana-Iba and Barracks bus stops and Agboju and Mile2 bus stops.

Emeka Obi who lives along the route described it as unpredictable, recalling how, recently, a morning trip from Orile to Badagry went smoothly but a return trip, which should have lasted two hours, took six hours! This was because of gridlock at Iyana-Iba and Alakija. He blamed the situation at Iyana-Iba on unruly drivers and petty traders while that of Alakija was caused by motorists anxious to link Festac Town from the expressway and vice-versa.

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A deplorable section of the road PHOTO: GBENGA SALAU

Another resident, Ekene Okafor, described journeying to his office through the route, daily, as frustrating. He noted that besides potholes on the stretch between Ojo Cantonment and Iyana-Iba, armed robbers terrorise commuters in the night. He added that lawlessness among tanker drivers and the slow pace of on-going construction work have worsened the traffic situation. “As a commuter, I spend N800 to work everyday. If the roads were okay, I should spend N400. So, living in Okokomaiko is like living in hell.”

For Nkwaoma Edeonyia, commuting along the Badagry-Okokomaiko-Mile2 road is painful. He said transport agents conveying goods from Cotonou used to pass through the route, at least, thrice daily adding that such is no longer the case because of the deplorable condition of the road and the slow pace of work.
“The Maza-maza entry point into Mile2 has only two lanes, not enough to cater for the volume of vehicular and human traffic. A journey of 20 minutes now takes more than three hours, depending on how bad the traffic situation is,” Edeonyia said.



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