Recently, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led his cabinet on a six-hour inspection of some of the on-going projects with a promise to deliver them soon. MURITALA AYINLA reports
For many residents and visitors of Lagos State, traffic situation in the state metropolis is gradually returning to the old days with increased travel time occasioned by long hours of traffic.
While many blamed the traffic snarl on simultaneous execution of infrastructural development projects on Abeokuta Expressway, Agege, Oyingbo, Yaba, Badagry Expressway and some other areas in the state, others argued that the project shouldn’t have been embarked upon at the same time to give room from free flow of traffic.
The traffic situation was worsened by the indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks and tanker, which has hampered vehicular traffic flow in Ikorodu Road, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Badagry Expressway, Ijora, Apapa, Ajegunle, Ikora-Badia, Gasikya Road and some other suburbs in the state. But for the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode,the state government is not resting on its oars to address needs of the residents as well as the visitors,saying that the state government was working to achieve the smart city status through building of smart city projects across the state.
Speaking during an extensive inspection of the ongoing projects across the state, assured that the tankers and truck menace would soon be a thing of the past as the federal government was collaborating with the state government and other stakeholders in the axis to proffer a lasting solution the menace.
The Governor had inspected the progress of work on the modern bus terminals in Yaba and Oyingbo, as well as the failed section of Sari Iganmu Road which had been abandoned for more than two years. He assured scores of residents who trooped out to welcome him,that contractors would move in to fix it within the next two weeks, while their blocked canal would also be cleared. The Governor and his team also inspected the ongoing palliative work embarked upon to fix the bad sections of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
While inspecting the progress of work on the Egan-Agric Road Project which is an access road to the ongoing Egan-Igando Housing Scheme, Governor Ambode said the project would be extended to Ayobo to serve as alternative route to decongest the Lasu-Iba Road to ease movement and further make life comfortable to the people.
He said that the housing scheme that had been on for about eight years, had largely been stalled due to the bad road in the axis, saying that the work would be accelerated, while interested residents would be allowed to benefit from the rent-to-own housing policy- that is, ownership of the scheme would be on monthly basis.
Besides, the Governor ordered immediate traffic signalization and palliative work on Ikotun-Ijegun Road, Abaranje, Isheri-Oshun, among other adjoining roads in the axis.
Addressing residents who trooped out to welcome him, Governor Ambode said: “We have received several complaints from this community about the deplorable state of the road from Ikotun to Ijegun, Abaranje and the other axis leading to Igando. I have come to see this place myself, beyond repairing the roads, we also need to do many traffic management solutions here, as such, we are going to signalize Ikotun Junction and this particular junction immediately.
“Public Works Corporation should proceed to do palliative from the Ikotun Junction down to Ijegun, Abaranje and then we link it up to Igando. I know there are some complaints about Isheri-Osun also. The part that we have finished there, we will look at that part and then from Isheri-Osun down to link up this Ikotun-Ijegun Road and immediately carry out palliative now that the rain is subsiding,” the Governor said.
Harping on Apapa gridlock, the Governor, who also flagged off the expansion of the ABAT Truck Terminal in Orile Iganmu, during an extensive inspection of ongoing projects across the state that last for about six hours, said the expansion of the Terminal was one of the resolutions reached at the recent meeting with stakeholders
He assured that work would be accelerated on the 1000-capacity terminal to take trucks parked indiscriminately on the roads and bridges.
According to him, efforts were ongoing especially in the Maritime sector on finding lasting solutions to take containerized trucks permanently off the roads, a development that is majorly responsible for the gridlock in the Apapa area. The Governor said: “One of the resolutions is that we should have authorised truck Terminal Park and so my visit to this place today is to flag off the reconstruction of this terminal so that we can accommodate 1000 trucks.
“We would do this in collaboration with the Nigeria Ports Authority so that the call-up system can work efficiently. The expansion we are adding to this particular terminal in which we have decided to acquire the adjoining land, we would use that primarily for non-petroleum trucks so that we can sectionalized these trucks and allow the call-up system to work.
“This is just part of the efforts that the State Government is making to make sure this Apapa gridlock and the truck menace becomes a thing of the past permanently.”
Governor Ambode also disclosed that the State Government has concluded plans to utilise an expanse land in Ijanikin area with a capacity to accommodate at least 5,000 trucks.
“I have just been briefed that we have an additional land space in Ijanikin that can accommodate 5000 trucks. We will explore that possibility immediately; all that we are doing is just to make sure that there is a permanent solution to this whole idea of trucks destroying our bridges and roads,” he said.
While appealing to Lagosians for their understanding, the Governor said that within the next six to eight weeks, the Terminals would be up and running to get the trucks off the roads and bridges within the axis.
Governor Ambode said aside expansion of the Terminal, commitment by Federal Government to commence reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway was on course with approval of N72.9billion by the Federal Executive Council for the project.
“You would recall that about two weeks ago, we had stakeholders’meeting with the Vice President presiding in Apapa and at that meeting, we resolved that we would ensure that reconstruction of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway would be awarded within two weeks. This has been fulfilled by the Federal Government, they have awarded the contract and construction should commence within the next two weeks.
“We thank the President, Vice President, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, and that of Transport for reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and the rail track from Apapa Ports to Ibadan which is strictly a cargo rail that would assist in moving heavy-duty goods away from the Apapa axis,” he said.
Besides, Governor Ambode said his administration was also looking at utilizing barges on the waterways to move heavy cargo as a way of complementing efforts on road and rail transportation system.”I just think Lagosians will have the relief to see that we have actually done what is right and in their overall interest.
Speaking on behalf of stakeholders, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi said the flag off of the expansion of ABAT Truck Terminal by the Governor was a new dawn towards addressing the Apapa gridlock. According to him, “today is the beginning of a new era as far as Lagos State is concerned. We have been saying it that our Governor is an action Governor and his coming here today has shown that he is very dynamic and pragmatic. This is what we have been expecting and for the Governor to be here to see things for himself and flag off the rehabilitation and expansion of this terminal shows that he is not only talking but matching words with action,” Ogungbemi said.
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