Gridlock on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

  • PublishedApril 7, 2019

The traumatic experiences of residents, commuters and motorists on the Lagos end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway are better imagined than experienced for anyone lucky to avoid the road.

However, such might be a wishful thinking as the expressway, constructed in 1978 and believed to be the busiest in Africa, has about 6,000 vehicles plying it daily according to the Federal Road Safety Corps. Besides, the 127.6-kilometre-long road connects Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states, leading to the northern, southern and eastern regions of the country.

Apart from the countless accidents and deaths recorded on the road in the past and recently, the road reconstruction has left many of its users in mounting stress, palpable fear and indescribable suffering. It has got to a point that gridlocks on the expressway can start in the morning of a particular day and end the next day with commuters alighting to trek long distances in frail state and helpless motorists keeping vigil in their vehicles.

This is the hopeless sacrifices that the users of the expressway have been making while the firms handling the reconstruction of the highway appear to be oblivious of the debilitating effects of their approaches to the project.

Julius Berger Nigeria and Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria were directed to take over the project after the Federal Government, on November 19, 2012, terminated its initial concession agreement with Wale Babalakin’s Bi-Courtney on the ground that it could not make any substantial progress three years after it was granted the contract to rebuild and manage the road for 25 years.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the reconstruction project in July 2013, giving the contractors four years to complete the project at a cost of N167bn. The sections of the expressway being reconstructed are Section I (Lagos to Sagamu Interchange) and section II (Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan).

In the initial concession agreement with Bi-Courtney, the firm was to expand the lanes to 10 from Lagos to Sagamu, and six lanes from Sagamu to Ibadan. It was also expected to build trailer parks and five interchanges among other things at a cost of N89.5bn. The project, which started in 2013 had 2017 as the initial completion date but was later shifted to end of 2018/early 2019. The reconstruction of the road, it was learnt, would be completed by December 2019.

A commercial bus driver who plies the Mowe-Ibafo route, Mr Segun Aina, said the constant gridlock on the expressway had become worrisome.

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