Motorists plying the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and other road users on Tuesday called for measures to reduce the hardship from gridlock caused by the ongoing Oshodi-Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, lane construction.
The commuters expressed worries over the reduction of the expressway from five to two lanes which compounded gridlock on the axis and the consequent man-hour loss.
They also lamented the increase in transport fares due to relocation of some transporters to other axis with less traffic congestion.
They told Newsmen that the situation had made life unbearable for road users on a daily basis and that the congestion was mostly experienced during peak hours, especially where access roads merged.
Between Abule-Egba and Iyana Ipaja, the gridlock gets chaotic as vehicles from Sango, Ijaye and others heading toward Oshodi struggle to enter the narrowed lanes.
The congestion becomes confounded around the Alimosho Road as traffic from Egbeda, Dopemu, Ikotun, Ijegun and other areas struggle to enter the highway. The gridlock returns to the Sango Ota bound carriageway when workers close from work.
A civil servant who lives in Egbeda, Mr Enejo Sunday, appealed to the Lagos State Government to speed up the construction and repair the bad portions of the highway to reduce gridlock.
“In the past, the trip from Egbeda to Alausa does not take more than 10 minutes but these days it takes hours. I am even afraid to take my car out now because of the bad road and gridlock.
“The government should please repair the narrow road they have left for us because the stress on this road is killing us gradually,’’ he said.
A commercial bus driver, Mr Abdulrafiu Mohammed, who plies the Iyana Ipaja-Oshodi route, appealed to the government to speed up the project affecting transport business on the axis.
“People accuse us of hiking fares but we have to do that because we burn more fuel when there is go slow.
“It is only the government that can solve the problem, they know what to do,’’ he said.
Prince Adeyinka Ademuyiwa, an estate agent in Ikeja, told Newsmen that the road was going to bring joy to the axis soon as according to him, it is good and everyone will be accommodated.
“For now the traffic is not the best but after they would have finished, everybody will enjoy,’’ he said.
However, Mr Gbenga Akinlolu, an engineer in Egbeda, urged the state government to create more access routes to reduce hardship on the road.
Akinlolu said that government was supposed to have factored in the project, the cost of expansion of the highway as according to him, one of the existing two lanes left for road users is a layby.
He said that the construction and constant potholes on various portion on the highway was causing traffic snarl around Alaguntan bus stop area which recorded easy passage for vehicles in the past.
“The government is after the interest of making money through the BRT buses and they are not concerned about us the road users.
“This is an inter-state road and they reduced it to only one lane because the outer lane serves as layby for commercial buses and other vehicles to park, it does not make sense at all,’’ he said.
Mrs Aduke Stephen, a business woman in Idumota Market, Lagos Island, called for continuous road maintenance to ease the hardship.
“Transporters charge outrageous sums now because of this BRT construction but I don’t care because once the project is completed, their season of exploitation will be over forever.
“The transporters change price like chameleon, for example, yesterday a bus charged my children N200 from Iyana Ipaja to Oshodi and because I missed that one, the next one collected N300,’’ she told Newsmen.
Mr Abiodun Dabiri, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, the project’s supervising agency,speaking to newsmen on telephone said that measures were in place to reduce hardship.
Dabiri said that the project was born out of the desire of the state government to tackle transportation deficit on the axis which cuts across four local governments.
He, however, said that the high traffic on the axis was keeping the contractor on the project busy as they strive to speed up work on site.
“It is a herculean task because the area is highly urbanised.
“We have told the contractor to always fill potholes and repair the road shoulders to ensure the existing road is motorable to reduce gridlock,’’ he said.
He explained that the contractor worked extensively daily on site on various portions between Abule Egba and Oshodi and debunked allegations that they sometimes abandoned work.
He appealed to residents of Lagos and the road users to be patient as the construction progressed, noting that it was the prize to pay for development.
Dabiri also appealed to residents to pay their taxes to help Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to achieve his vision of ensuring even development across the state.
A NAN correspondent who took a trip on the highway on Tuesday reports that workmen were working on some pillars and the median barriers between Cement and Mangoro Bus stop areas.
Also, road users experience traffic congestion on various portions during peak periods from Sango, Iyana Ipaja, Egbeda and other areas as they merge onto the highway, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports.
Also, some surveyors were seen on site around Ile Zik bus stop in Ikeja axis.