Lagos-Ibadan expressway: Road of many pains

When Bunmi set out on a journey to Ibadan last Saturday, he thought he would be at his destination in two hours. But after four hours on the road, he was not halfway yet. He was trapped in a massive hold up on the expressway that has become notorious for its gridlock.

“The traffic was a hell,” told The Guardian. “The cause was a flooded section of the road and it lasted almost 24 hours.”

“We set off to Ibadan some minutes to 10am Saturday and got into the traffic from the Magodo Shangisha section of the road heading out of Lagos. We initially thought the cause was the Berger Bus Stop, an accident or the Redeemed Holy Ghost Congress and MFM Power Must Change Hands programme.

As Bunmi would find out hours later, none the traffic was not caused by any of those things.

“At noon, we had just gotten to OPIC Estate and we were tempted to turn around but we kept hope alive believing we would soon get ahead of what was causing the traffic. We asked one hawker the cause of the traffic and he said it was the MFM Church while another said it was a bad portion of the road.

“At 2:30pm, we approached MFM but could not place where the traffic was coming from still because the whole corridor of the church was free. At this point, a huge traffic had built up on the other side of the road heading into Lagos.

“At 3pm we had passed the MFM Church and was still wondering what was causing the traffic logjam only for us to approach the flooded section of the road with cars and trucks trying struggling to squeeze through one lane in order to avoid the deep end of the water because no one was sure what was beneath.”

The contract to reconstruct, perhaps, the busiest expressway in the country was given out to Julius Berger and Reynolds Construction Company during the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan with a completion date of July 3, 2017.

The contractors working on the road have had to deal with many factors such as finance, weather and impatient road users, all of which have limited the progress of work being done.

“We recall that before the advent of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun administration, armed robbery usually occurred on the road because of its bad state. Also, gridlock caused by unruly drivers and trailers parked indiscriminately on the median, were the order of the day,” secretary to the Ogun State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, said in a statement on August 5.

But road users say the gridlock could not be helped sometimes, taking into consideration that the road is very busy.

“A lot of people living at Mowe, Arepo, Magboro and Ibafo are working in Lagos like myself. So they ply that road everyday because there is no viable alternative,” Tunji Badejo told The Guardian.

“There is no way traffic wouldn’t build up in the morning and evening when a lot of people are on that road,” he added.

Aware of this problem, the Ogun State Government directed Julius Berger not to work during rush hour. “The contractor will not work on Lagos- Ibadan Expressway during rush hour, namely from 6 am to 10 am and between 4 pm and 10 pm,” Adeoluwa said.

But Bunmi’s experience last Saturday proved that the directive has had little impact on reducing traffic. Like him, a lot of commuters who travel on the road daily could only hope for the reconstruction works to be concluded on schedule so that flood-induced gridlock can be a thing of the past.

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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
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