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After months of excruciating traffic pains, motorists and commuters plying Lagos-Ibadan expressway, yesterday, experienced temporary relief, following the removal of barriers on the highway.
Since commencement of reconstruction of Section One of the highway, about four months ago, the attendant gridlock has continued to defy measures thrown at it by concerned authorities.
Consequently, motorists and residents of border communities between Ogun and Lagos have linked untimely death among them to the stress they encounter daily in traffic.
Also, many house owners in neighbourhoods like Mowe, Pakuro, Aseese, Ibafo, Magboro and Arepo, who could not bear the stress, abandoned their homes to rent smaller apartments in city centres.
Apart from the persisting traffic and accidents, many have either fallen victims to kidnappers or lost their belongings to robbers, while those who risked taking the adjourning earth road had bitter tales to tell.
A landlord, who identified himself simply as John, told The Guardian that he abandoned his home at Ijere in Pakuro, after enduring the traffic, especially at the Long Bridge, as he had to leave home at about 4:00a.m. to get to his office at Lagos Island everyday. According to him, he was advised by his doctor to relocate because he spent average of four hours in traffic every working day.
However, all these will change, at least for now, following the removal of the barrier, which was three days earlier than the scheduled December 15 date.
Leading officers of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, security and traffic agencies for the removal of the barriers, yesterday, South-West Zone Director, Highways, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Adedamola Kuti, an engineer, said, the removal was part of the ministry’s end of year programme.
According to him, “there was an earlier announcement that all barriers at construction sites would be removed by December 15, to allow for free movement during the season on Lagos/ Ibadan expressway, but we are doing it now, having already attained a level to which we can allow those barriers to be removed.
He said: “So, rather than wait till Thursday, December 15, just as we did at the other section from the old toll gate up to Otedola bridge, which we opened for traffic last week, we’ve also completed this project up to a level where we can allow movement.
“You’ll also observe that the construction work has not been completed because it’s still work in progress rather than us opening up new sections of the road that cannot be completed before Thursday, We don’t want to allow traffic on the road, so that our people can travel during this Christmas period till January. After the new year holidays we shall resume our work.
“So, as we move, we expect drivers to still drive according to the rules, the stipulated maximum speed which is 100km per hour and of course as you can see with me here is Ogun State Commissioner of Police and then you have the Zonal Commanding Officer for FRSC in charge of the zone.
“We don’t expect any problem, but of course they’re here to ensure that people drive into Lagos and out of Lagos without any harm.
“We’re also thanking our people for their understanding these past few months and we still want to encourage them to continue to support us, as we come out in the new year to resume work; so as we finish this project, there’ll be no issues. We also want to wish all Nigerians a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2023 in advance.”
Kuti also stressed that they are not opening section one alone, but will open section two near Ibadan and remove all barriers as well, on Thursday, December 15.
Meanwhile, Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole has promised improved security on the road, while the zonal Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in charge of the zone, Assistant Corps Marshal, Peter Kibo, said his team are on ground to ensure free flow of traffic as well as urging motorists to comply with driving rules.Follow us on social media