Friday, 23 October 2015

Anguish As Potholes Cause Gridlock On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Emergency patients being conveyed in two ambulances were stuck in traffic between Warewa and Arepo end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Thursday.

Chat212 observed that the ambulances taking the patients could not move, as the road was blocked.

Our correspondent observed a nurse, who had become desperate, waving a blue flag to appeal for a space because the sirens were not making any impact.

The other van, belonging to the Nigeria Navy Reference Hospital, which was heading for the Mowe area of Ogun State, was also held up in the traffic.

The fate of the two ambulances and their occupants was what many motorists had been experiencing on the expressway for about two weeks for those driving inward Mowe.

Our correspondent noted that the gridlock, which sometimes stretched to the Berger area of Lagos State, was caused by many potholes between the Warewa and Arepo areas.

During a tour of the area on Thursday, our correspondent counted no fewer than 287 potholes on the road.

Our correspondent gathered that early commuters and drivers spent long hours in the traffic jam.

A driver said he spent over one hour on the bridge, attributing the problem to the potholes.

The expressway. Photo: Saheed Olugbon

He said, “I spend a long time on that road. The problem is that there are a lot of potholes on the road and whenever it rained, the road becomes almost impassable.

“The small cars that pass the road always slow down once they get to the Warewa and Arepo end of the expressway and everybody will have to wait for them to pass. That is the primary cause of the traffic jam.”

A commuter, Bisi Adedoyin, told PUNCH Metro that she was forced to get down from the vehicle she had boarded when she saw that the gridlock was much.

“I trekked the whole stretch of the long bridge on Tuesday morning because of the traffic. It was very bad,” she said.

Another commuter, who did not identify himself, said he was robbed after spending about three hours on the long bridge on Wednesday.

“I got home very late because of the traffic,” he added.

Our correspondent also observed that several vehicles broke down because of the gridlock.

Some vehicles, which were driving against traffic, were turned back by some policemen from the Ibafo division.

It was also observed that hawkers had taken over the long bridge area as they took time to sell drinks and snacks to hungry and tired motorists.

A side of the Warewa area had been flooded, while vehicles were forced to slow down as they approached the road.

A driver said, “There are so many potholes between Warewa and Arepo and it is getting worse. If nothing is done to remedy the situation on time, the road might fail completely.”

A truck driver, Riliwan, was spotted by our correspondent repairing his vehicle, with the help of some mechanics.

He explained that he was involved in an accident the previous day, which was caused by the potholes.

“We were coming from Magboro and when we got to Arepo, I suddenly saw that the vehicle in my front, which was carrying oranges, applied its brake. It did not see the pothole on time.

“My truck rammed into it and the one behind me hit me as well. The accident was serious, but nobody was injured. The accident was avoidable if the road was good,” he said.

A commuter at the Arepo bus stop, who did not identify himself, said he had decided to be leaving his car at home.

He said, “The traffic was unbearable yesterday (Wednesday). I was stuck in the traffic for hours and I have decided to stop taking my car out. I will continue to take public transport until the situation improves.”

The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Ogun State, Adegoke Adetunji, said his men had been working round the clock to manage the gridlock.

He said they had written to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency and the Federal Ministry of Works, on the problem, but had yet to get a reaction.

He said, “That portion of the road is very bad. Potholes and erosion have destroyed the road. We have written to FERMA and the Federal Ministry of Works on the need to repair that road.

“What we want to do in the interim is to get our stakeholders to fill those portions of the road with gravels and sands. This is rainy season; so when it rains, the flood could still sweep them away. But, we are on top of the situation. It is also the position of the agency that nobody drives against traffic.”

The Ogun State Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he was in a meeting with the state Commissioner of Police and would call back.