Commuters around the Lagos metropolis have continued to groan as daily rainfall, bad roads compound the traffic situation around the state.
On a daily basis since the last week of September, major roads in the metropolis are locked down as early as 7am while motorists struggle to navigate their various routes.
From the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway to other adjourning roads commuters have hectic mornings and evenings on the roads which many have attributed to the numerous bad portions on Lagos roads.
A commuter on Shasha road, Akowonjo in Alimosho Local Government Area said the road is a major pain in the neck of residents and other users.
Abdul Adekunle is on the staff of a new generation bank. According to him he now spends four hours on a journey that usually took him about 45 minutes on a hectic day.
“I live in Egbeda and must pass through Akowonjo road to Oba Akran avenue. It is a 45 minutes journey naturally due to early morning traffic but spending four hours is really terrible,” he lamented.
By Adekunle’s assessment, the state of Lagos roads is now going from bad to worse and becoming unbearable. “You won’t believe I left my house at Egbeda at about 5:45am and didn’t get to Ikeja until about 10am. That is four full hours on a journey that should last below one hour or maximum one hour,” he said, calling on Governor Olusola Sanwo-Olu to get to work before things become more terrible.
Another commuter who talked with National Wire pleading anonymity is actually annoyed at the level of infrastructure in the metropolis.
“I am a businessman and I know the value of time. I also know what I lose in terms of man hour in the unnecessary traffic so the government should just wake up, it is like we have not had it this bad in recent years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Wednesday traffic may be explainable because of decaying infrastructure coupled with the heavy downpour and increasing volume of traffic.
However, the explanation from a commuter from Ogun State may also explain why the traffic situation may be chaotic for some time more.
Abraham Osita works on Lagos Island but lives at Agbado crossing, an Ogun State suburb. According to him traveling by rail is more conducive for him and time saving.
His explanation may have explained why there are more commuters on the road. “I live around Agbado in Ogun State but I work in Lagos. So the rail is better for me,” he said, explaining further that for some days the rail has not worked.
“The train has not worked for some days due to some construction works. Then some of us are forced to travel by road. This may explain why the roads are jammed because there are more people traveling by road and of course the regular road transporters did not prepare for a surge,” he explained.
Meanwhile another commuter around the mile two area of Lagos told National wire how life has been unbearable for many years for commuters in the axis.
Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye is the medical director of God’s Goal Hospital, Ojo Alaba who explained that commuter have not found movement funny for many years.
Omonaiye however attributed Lagos traffic situation on potholes saying that solutions ought to have been fashioned before now.
“The problem of pot holes in Lagos stated a very long time ago, at least the Mile 2-Badagry axis for several years. Solutions should have been fashioned out before now. Many of the man holes on the road started as small portholes that were left unattended to and they kept on increasing in size.
“Heavy rain falls, poor drainage system and the lack of prompt repairs of damaged portions contribute heavily to the appalling state of numerous roads in Lagos State,” he said.
Complaining about the quality of work done by workers carrying out road rehabilitation, Omonaiye said, “The quality of the construction is sometimes shoddy. It looks like some are intentional built not to last. The contractors, the supervisory ministry and officials should be held accountable for poorly done roads.
“Oftentimes, I wonder why government functionaries who equally ply these roads regularly watch them deteriorating till they become almost impassible without lifting a finger to address it. I just wonder why we hate ourselves so much,” he complained.
He however advised that “Many of the horrible roads can easily be patched up as a palliative measure that will bring relief to millions of commuters.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has embarked on rehabilitation of roads around the metropolis.
However, many Lagos residents have reacted to a recent comment credited to the state governor, Olusola Sanwo-Olu who said that heavy rainfall has hampered road rehabilitation work because rain and bitumen don’t mix.
The rehabilitation exercise is ongoing despite the rain which has spanned several days. The development has made much of the work done equal to nothing as the rain keeps washing the materials used in filling the pot holes. A good example is the work done around Ogba area of the state.
Pastor Adetokunbo Emmanuel in his reaction said it is not about bitumen but proper drainage system must be in place.
“Bitumen is used for road building and when it is properly built with proper drainage, water runs off naturally and that is the industry’s global standard, engineers can help us here. So Mr. Sanwo-Olu should not ring up that as an excuse for bad roads in Lagos with its global status,” he said.
The Animal Scientist continued that, “Rain must fall, but road engineering technology has long gone beyond making coal tar or bitumen look like mere latterite as if speaking to only illiterates. Roads should be built to last at least a generation and if bitumen won’t do, which I don’t believe, cements would.
“Meanwhile, when you see how roads are repaired in Lagos, you’ll know it’s a big waste of time. When they only put gravel and some kind of dusty material to fill pot holes only to be washed away by the first rain that falls on it.
“The repairs last Sunday at Moshalashi roundabout on Ipaja Road is a case study. Today is Thursday but those potholes are back. There was no solidity underneath, no bitumen etc only some gravels and whatever that mix was…such won’t hold and it won’t be the fault of the rain,” he said.
Another commentator, Gbenga Ayodele told National Wire that road infrastructure is that what can open door of acceptance to any governor in Lagos.
“Mr. Sanwo-Olu should know that it takes guts to govern Lagos. He must know that road infrastructure is the key to unlocking the door of acceptance. Lagos is richer than 20 of Nigeria’s 36 states put together and we won’t accept his ‘bitumen hates rain water’ philosophy.
“There’s no month it doesn’t rain in Lagos and rain will continue to fall every month by God’s grace in Lagos so no excuse. The government collects taxes despite rain or shine therefore he should deliver the dividends of democracy which include good roads. Whether he will engage rain makers or rain catchers or whatever, the roads must be fixed,” he said.
Ayodele however gave his advice to the state government. “In fact the easiest way to fix the roads is to create department of Ministry of Works (MOW) in every LCDA and engage boys within the localities, train them and engage them in direct labour under the MOW.
“But if he wants to engage the usual contract method in fixing the roads, failure is inevitable because by so doing, the magnitude of work must be overwhelming especially with the daily rainfall.”
However, the traffic situation is becoming more terrible as the rain persists. Another factor is the fact that transportation by rail has been put on hold due to series of construction exercise to improve the rail transportation system.
Commuters traveling from Ogun State and Lagos suburbs to Ido station on a daily basis have had to make do with the road transportation which is ever congested.
According to transporters, the rail system takes a chunk of the commuters off the major bus stations but while it is put on hold due to construction work, there are more people on the road.
The government at all level must however devise means to ease the movement of goods and services.
If this must be done, all the arms of government must work together with the communities to ensure road construction must be of standard. The local communities would be the watchdogs to secure infrastructure especially roads from getting damaged.