It was big relief to witness the commencement of rehabilitation and construction works on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway after a long-drawn tussle between Bi-Courtney Ltd, which was commissioned to Build, Operate and Transfer the 100-kilometre road by the Obasanjo/Jonathanadministrations.
Works had been going on to expand the expressway to either a six-lane expressway or a 10-lane expressway. The uncertainty of the scope of works usually arises because Project Boards which statutorily are meant to be installed at the sites for information are never done. This gives rise to a lot of speculations.
The work pace has been very slow and the Federal Government or the agencies involved have not offered the public any explanations. Apart from the alarmingly slow pace, the writer is worried about a number of issues highlighted below:
Every contractor owes it a duty to keep the corridor and the entire environment of the construction works zone organised, clean and tidy. The Lagos- Ibadan Rehabilitation Work Zone falls far short of this. A considerable portion of the stretch is not properly organisedand appear very untidy. Pedestrian are often seen walking across these sites.
Adequate caution signs are meant to be placed at strategic points to alert motorists of any danger and to help motorists drive in an orderly manner. These signs are meant to be reflective for them to be visible, particularly at night. Virtually all of the concrete median dividers do not have any reflectors.
Every road, whether under construction or fully constructed, is meant to be marked to guide motorists. It promotes safe and orderly driving. So far, not a single stretch of the road has been lined. This is very dangerous as it creates a lot of confusion and poses danger to motorists, especially at night. An otherwise three-lane carriageway becomes asix-lane carriageway, causing needless traffic jams and aggravating commuters.
Conspicuous large portions of the completed roads are heavily silted and sandy. The silt line up the roadsides and end up clogging the drains. The contractors should be mandated to continually clean up the roads and the drains whilst the works are ongoing.
FAILED PORTIONS OF NEWLY COMPLETEDROADS
There are already visible signs of failure and stress on some of the completed asphalt surfaces. Obviously there is an issue with either the design or with the workmanship.
Given the time so far spent on the project, one would have expected the major works to be scoped to start first as it will take a lot of resources. In this case, the major works, which involve construction of clover heads to serve as interchange, have just been started. The fear is that the works may never be completed in four years. This does not augur well for the health and wellbeing of commuters and it equally has a serious effect on our economy.
Given the economic importance of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, being the major road connecting Lagos to the entire country, alternative but temporary passages should have been created to reduce the travel times and inconveniences experienced by the commuters.
The project appears to be open-ended as there is no information stating the scope and timelines for the works. Such information will allow commuters to plan.
Over the years, a lot of productive hours have been lost and needless deaths have occurred on the road due to some of these points enumerated. In times of accidents, the logjams on the road sometimes prevent ambulance patients from getting to the hospital before they pass on.
It will be heartwarming if all these concerns are looked into to alleviate the sufferings of the commuters.
*GbengaOnabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to therestorationof the environment.