Thursday, 4 April 2019

Motorists Recount Sleeping On Lagos Ibadan Expressway

Following an accident, which led to a petrol tanker spilling its content on the Ibafo end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Tuesday, many motorists have recounted their ordeal in the resultant gridlock, which lasted till Wednesday afternoon.

It was reported that the tanker was hit by a speeding truck, which made it to spill its content.

Officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Ogun State Police Command, the Ogun Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps and fire service personnel immediately cordoned off the area in order to prevent a fire outbreak.

Despite the fact that the content of the tanker was trans-loaded into another vehicle, the road was not free as many motorists spent the night stuck in the gridlock.

A pharmacist, Abiodun Otubanjo, said, “I left Lagos Island around 4.30pm on Tuesday for Sagamu in Ogun State. Before I left, I checked the traffic situation online and it showed that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was densely congested. Unfortunately, when I got to the ‘Long Bridge’, I got stuck and it was a very traumatic experience, not just for me, but for most commuters on the road, because the bridge is renowned as a den of robbers.

“I eventually got to opposite the Punch Place around 2am and I realised I won’t be able to continue with the journey because I was exhausted and that was where I passed the night. I was not the only one who slept on the road.

“Up till 11am this morning (Wednesday), the gridlock was still there. And when I  managed to get to the Redemption Camp, I didn’t see any reason for the gridlock.”

Otubanjo urged the contractor handling the reconstruction of the road to fast-track its work, adding that the Federal Government should make commuting on the road easy for the citizens.

Another motorist, Wasiu Muhammed, said he got stuck in the traffic around 8.30pm, adding that an accident occurred as a result of motorists driving against the traffic.

He said “I encountered the traffic from the Otedola Bridge around 8.30pm. At some point, I had to drive against the traffic and there was a luxury bus behind me. As the bus attempted to overtake me, he collided with a Lexus SUV.

“The driver drove away without waiting. It was when he got to Berger that the bus suffered from overheating and I was able to catch up with him. I had to inform him about what happened.”

A commuter, identified simply as Ireti, said she reported late for work on Wednesday morning because the gridlock prevented her from getting home early the previous night.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr Adedamola Kuti, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone, sympathised with motorists and commuters who were trapped on the road, saying the Federal Government and the contractor, Messrs Julius Berger Plc, were doing everything humanly possible to alleviate the suffering of road users.

He, however, blamed the persistent gridlock on the Lagos-Ibafo section of the road to impatience by motorists and the many articulated vehicles that were not roadworthy but plying the road, which often break down, especially narrow portions of the road.

Kuti said, “The government is trying to make commuting on the road a pleasurable experience by expanding the road, which is the busiest in Nigeria and perhaps Africa, especially the Lagos to the Sagamu interchange section.

“Motorists must be patient when passing through construction areas, especially in places where a side of the road is closed and the other side is divided into two lanes.

“The contractor is a reputable international firm that applies universal safety standards on its construction sites. If it opens the barricaded areas to traffic when construction is still going on and there is an accident, it will be held liable. No responsible construction firm will do that.”

He added that funding constraints, which had previously slowed down the pace of work on the road, had been surmounted as the government had secured an alternative funding arrangement from the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, through the Sovereign Wealth Fund instead of budgetary provisions.

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