For commuters and motorists, certain areas in the Lagos metropolis have become a nightmare. These include Abule-Egba, Ojodu Berger, Ajah-Lekki road and Abesan. Relief, however, seems on the way as flyovers and bridges are being constructed while other roads are undergoing expansion. Samuel Ajayi, who visited some of these places, writes aboutAkinwunmi Ambode’s ‘wonders’
While many might not have noticed it, Lagos has become one giant construction yard. And thanks to the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who seems to have made infrastructural development of the state a passion similar to how an altar boy internalises the Catholic creed. While there are new roads being constructed, the focus seems to have been on construction of bridges and extension of existing roads to make movement easy for residents of the state.
From Abule-Egba to Abesan; from Ojodu Berger to Badagry and from Okomomaiko to Surulere, the name of the game seems to be construction and more construction. While it is expected of governments at different levels to make life easier for the people, the fact that some of the roads being reconstructed by the Ambode-led government in Lagos State are federal roads perhaps deserves commendation. And residents of areas where these constructions are going on, will have a sigh of relief when they are completed. Standing out amongst these areas is Abule-Egba for obvious reasons.
Abule-Egba Dual-Carriage Flyover: Lease of Life for Traumatised Residents
If there are those who will be grateful to Governor Ambode over the construction of the Abule-Egba dual carriage flyover, one of them would be a certain Labake Kazeem. Labake liked her job as front office executive in one blue chip company located at Ilupeju, in the heart of Lagos. But after incessant brushes with her boss, she had to resign to look for another job. But up till now, she is yet to get a job. Why did she have to resign? She was staying at a place called Kola, which was opposite the road that leads to the headquarters of Africa Independent Television, AIT. Because she had two children to attend to, which included her then 10-month-old baby, she usually woke up by 4 am to prepare the older child for school and also get set for work. By 5:45am, she would have hit the road. But she never got to office earlier than 8:30am.
“I was usually leaving home early enough but even at that, I would still be late to work,” Labake told THISDAY. “The problem, every day, was Abule-Egba. From Kola Bus Stop to Abule-Egba would take at least one and half hours every day. If you look at the distance between Kola and Abule-Egba and that between Abule-Egba and Surulere, you would agree with me that it was between Kola and Abule-Egba that I was always held in traffic. And this usually led to my being late for work almost every day. My boss had given me queries upon queries and it was when he threatened me with sack and coupled with the fact that I never liked waking up my kids very early to prepare them for school that I decided to resign.”
There are many Labakes living in that part of Lagos who see passing through Abule-Egba as a daily nightmare. Since it is an intersection that equally links with Pen Cinema in Agege, it is one point that usually causes traffic snarl virtually every hour of the day. But that is about to end. Though a federal road, a flyover bridge is being constructed by the Lagos State government that will ensure that those coming from Iyana-Ipaja to Sango and vice versa do not have to wait for traffic lights before they could pass. Same is applicable for those coming from Oko Oba axis trying to link Sango.
According to construction specifications of the project, the Abule- Egba dual carriage-way flyover is a bridge of 700 metres with two lanes of 2,500 meters. The project is being handled by Craneburg Construction Company. It started February 1, 2016 and the expected date of completion is at the end April, 2017. The Project is about 70 per cent completed.
Habib Aruna, the chief press secretary to the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said “apart from the aesthetic upgrade of the area, the major significance of this project is to decongest the traffic gridlock at the intersection around Abule Egba axis. The traffic from Iyana Ipaja to Sango and the one from Agege and Oko-Oba would be resolved.”
When this reporter visited Abule-Egba a couple of weeks ago, work was going steadily on the project. And there were strong indications that the April 2017 completion date is very much achievable.
Another indication that Lagos has become a huge construction yard, albeit for all the right reasons, is the Lagos-Badagry Expressway 10-lane project. Another traffic nightmare of a road, the fact that the road is being reconstructed and expanded is an indication of how.
THISDAY findings revealed that Lot One of the construction work, which covers Eric Moore, in Surulere, to Mile 2, which is being handled by construction giants, Julius Berger, is almost completed and ready for use. Lot Two A covers Maza Maza to Okokomaiko and is further divided into three segments. These are Segment A which is from Maza Maza to Agboju and Segment B which is from Agboju to Trade Fair. Segment C covers from Trade Fair to Okokomaiko. These are being handled by another construction big name, China Civil Engineering Construction Company Nigeria Limited, CCECC, and this, according to the state government, “is moving at a very fast pace.”
There is also Lot Three which runs from Agbara to Badagry. Presently, work is about to start from the First Gate, the Flyover at Alakija Toll Link Interchange and Abule Ado Bridge. Site engineer for CCECC, Kong Lingchen, and site engineer (project) Sowole Temitope, both expressed optimism that the work would be delivered on schedule. They thanked Governor Ambode for providing all the necessary support towards the success of the project.
Imeke Bridge to Whispering Palms: Making Sense of a Road
The road from Imeke bridge that links Whispering Palms was another nightmare for motorists and commuters. When Ambode visited the area on December 29 last year to commission the Imeke Bridge, he had immediately directed the contractor (CCECC) to immediately commence work on the dilapidated road linking the bridge to Imeke Community down to Whispering Palms Resort. Ambode believed the road would further open up the axis to more visitors hoping to explore the tourists’ attractions that abound in the ancient town.
Two weeks after, the contractor reportedly moved to site and has begun preliminary work on the 6.75kilometre road.
Sources close to the office of the governor told THISDAY that due to the swampy nature of the area, sand-filling work had commenced in earnest, while the contractor hopes to deliver the road within eight months before the rainy season peaks.
CCECC Site Manager, Yang Guo Quan and Assistant Project Manager, Engr. Zannu Thomas, have both assured that the road on completion would be a major link road for Badagry.
Ajah Flyover: And the Rich Shall Cry no More
When this reporter went on a road voyage to Ita Marun, a sleepy village off the Lekki-Epe Expressway, he was able to have a first-hand impression of how much work has gone on the Ajah Flyover Bridge Work. The project, which is being handled by Hitech, is expected to put a permanent end to the traffic malaise along that axis, especially for the rich and affluent that have their residential houses along that axis. If there is one manifestation of the timeless axiom that the rich also cry, it is the pain commuters and motorists go through linking Lekki and Ajah.
“With completion of this bridge, there will definitely be a huge relief for us,” a resident of the area told THISDAY early this year during the trip to Ita Marun. “It is hellish passing through this area every day; especially during the peak periods. We cannot thank Ambode enough. I only hope it is completed on time.”
And that is the concern of many people. But if antecedents of Ambode are anything to go by, perhaps, residents of the area have no reason to nurse any fear of a possible abandoned project.
An aide of the governor quoted the Project manager, Mr. Lloyd Bekker, who is in charge of supervision of the project as saying the work had already reached 70 per cent completion while expressing optimism that the May 29completion and project handing over date is very much possible. To buttress this, beams for the 161 metre-long bridge were being launched when THISDAY visited while work was also ongoing on other sections of the bridge.
Ojodu-Berger Pedestrian Bridge: Relief for Pedestrians, Rest of Mind for Drivers
Anyone who plies the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway regularly will attest to the fact that one frustration for drivers on the Lagos end of the road is pedestrians crossing at the Ojodu Berger area of the state. At times, traffic occasioned by people crossing from one end to the other carriage-way could extend as far as the Lagos State secretariat at Alausa.
“Sometimes, one has to pray before leaving home if you have to pass though that point,” Olusola Ayodeji, who works with one of the nation’s paramilitary agencies, told this reporter. “Traffic caused by those crossing the expressway could make you spend over one hour navigating from Agidingbi to Isheri. I think that bridge would be a massive relief.”
The project being is handled by CCCEC and it has three phases. The Phase one is the flyover which was the first contract awarded in January 2016 and which is almost completed. Phase Two and Three which are the roads beside the lay-bys and the extension by the new bridge were added. This extension was a well thought-out idea which will ensure that a pedestrian can actually move from the carriage that leads to Ibadan down to the petrol station by the roundabout at the Ojodu-Berger road end without having to touch the ground; even on any of the lay-bys.
The Phase One of the project is about 95% completed while Phases Two and Three are 75% and 60% completed respectively. The expected date of completion is this month.
The significance of this project include is that it will ensure an improvement in the general outlook of Berger area particularly because Berger is the first point of call when coming into Lagos State. And aide of the governor has this to say:
“In the past, commercial drivers parked indiscriminately on the road side causing serious traffic but now there is sanity. The development, when completed, would drastically reduce traffic on the expressway. Also the provision of the pedestrian flyover has reduced the number of accidents and death on the highway.”
And the Beat Goes On
Sources told THISDAY that the current construction projects in the state are more or less a tip of the iceberg. When we visited Abule-Egba for on the spot assessment of a flyover project, an official of the construction firm handling the project, who who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had been mandated to commence work on similar flyover at Pen Cinema, another troublesome point in Agege axis of northern Lagos. Some Lagosians too have been pushing for such bridge over the Dunlop Tyre U-turn along Oba Akran Road in Ikeja. In Lekki, some roundabouts are being eliminated to ease traffic logjam on the road, especially between Lekki Phase One and Chevron Roundabout.
It remains to be seen if other areas will be added, but for now, residents of areas where current projects are ongoing can’t wait to heave a sigh of relief. And for Ambode, they thoroughly deserve it.