Lagos-Ibadan expressway: Between RCC’s pace and Julius Berger’s chaos

[FILES] Lagos-Ibadan highway

The long awaited delivery of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway has been a dilemma considering the issues bedevilling its completion. In this report, BENJAMIN ALADE, examines cause of the delay.

For motorists and residents along the Berger-Sagamu corridor of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, anytime the contractor reconstructing the corridor – Messrs Julius Berger – announces plans to work on a section of the corridor, nightmares and palpable fears of horrendous days of traffic come to their minds.

While gridlocks and slow-paced movements characterise many road construction works, the situation with Berger-Sagamu corridor has left road users, who equally experience the pace of activities on the Sagamu-Ibadan corridor handled by Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), to question the reputation of Julius Berger in recent times.

To many road users who spoke with The Guardian, RCC, despite having a longer stretch of road in terms of kilometres, has almost finished its work with little discomfort , unlike Julius Berger, who despite having started earlier and covering a shorter distance, has continued to create unusual hardship and unnecessary gridlocks on the roads.

With the recent announcement to close some sections of the road by Julius Berger, motorists plying the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway are set for another nightmare, frustration and agony.

For instance, the forthcoming yearly convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) slated to begin from Monday August 5, is expected to worsen road users’ experience on the route.

The travel time from Berger end of Lagos to Mowe should not have taken more than 15 minutes, but during the hectic time of the traffic snarl, commuters may spend a day or more.

The gridlock often gets worse as it definitely took its toll on vehicles causing them to develop faults as a result of overheating, which also cause delay to those behind who would have to navigate through the already barricaded road.

To some, the contractor handling the Lagos portion of the expressway, Julius Berger is culpable of the problems on the road accusing them of carelessness.

Many also put the competence of Julius Berger to question in comparison to how the other contractor, RCC is handling the other section of the road.

They said that the pains are not been experienced on the Ibadan-Sagamu Interchange end of the highway.

The accusation is that Berger has refused to provide necessary palliative and alternative routes to cushion the effect of the already narrowed lanes of the road.

One of the road users said for some strange reasons, “Julius Berger is performing below expectations in its Lagos’ half of the road”.

“I travel on this road weekly and I compare the work being done by Julius Berger with that of RCC and Julius Berger is surprisingly lagging behind. The equipment and men deployed shows the unserious approach of Julius Berger.

“There are fewer men and equipment deployed by Julius Berger on the vital Lagos section thus slowing the pace of work and prolonging the suffering of the unfortunate Nigerian people. Our people in the best of times are also unruly and impatient thus compounding and contributing to the chaos on the road.

He said: “When sections are blocked there is no intelligent provision for alternative routes. This does not happen on the RCC section. The inference one can draw is that Julius Berger is not interested in the job at hand and is waiting for the riot act to be read to it before being fired. It could also be due to a sense of ennui and tiredness of the corrupt Nigerian bureaucracy and government.”

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) had on Monday revealed that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the construction company handling rehabilitation work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be closed on Saturday, August 3.

The Ogun Sector Commandant of FRSC, Clement Oladele, said the rehabilitation work would cover Berger end of the road to Ogun River Bridge at the popular Kara Cattle Market totalling 1.4 kilometres.

“The rehabilitation work will initially affect 600 metres of the corridor and cause the temporary closure of the inward Lagos traffic to enable the construction company carry out the rehabilitation work on the road.

“The temporary diversion of traffic will transfer the Lagos inbound traffic to the same carriageway conveying traffic outward Lagos, thereby accommodating both the traffic inward and outward Lagos on the same section of the expressway,” he said.

Oladele admonished motorists to note the development and plan their trips by allowing more travelling time in view of the rehabilitation work that would narrow the carriageway and may impair motorisation.

The sector commandant advised the general public, especially motorists, to use alternative corridors like the Epe/Ajah – Ijebu – Ode, Lagos – Ota – Itori – Abeokuta and Ikorodu – Sagamu roads.

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