Travelling on Lagos-Sango-Ota- Abeokuta Expressway with tears

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SAMUEL AWOYINFA once again writes on the deplorable condition of Lagos-Sango-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway, and experiences of motorists and commuters

Motorists and commuters who have had to pass through the Lagos-Sango-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway in the last two months will tell you that it is not the best of experience.

A traveller who lives in Lagos but works in Abeokuta, Mrs Iyabo Adeogun puts it more succinctly, “As a commuter, each week I travelled through that road, I ended up with excruciating body pains, despite the fact that I usually board commercial bus.”

A motorist, Charles Abajo, who equally lives in Sango but equally works in the capital of Ogun State, also has a more horrifying story to tell.

“It is like travelling through hell navigating the Lagos-Sango-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway. Whether you are travelling to or returning from Abeokuta, both lanes in many sections are in terrible shape.

“So both you the motorist and your vehicle cannot could not escape the hazards suffered on that road, there are craters, and potholes, which give the body unsettling pain, and the vehicle equally thoroughly shaking almost out of joints.”

The ordeal of a motorist or commuter on his or her way out to Abeokuta from Lagos or Sango-Ota axis on that route starts from the Tollgate. That section of the road had completely failed up to the hilly section in front of the abandoned Gateway Hotel.

Articulated vehicles bearing goods or raw materials had suffered falls at the failed sections and millions of Naira lost.

This may serve as a disincentive to foreign investors or even local investors.

Getting to the Sango bus stop, the ordeal continues, but for those who might use the flyover. Descending the flying over, the undulating surface, jerks not only the vehicle but also bones of motorists and commuters almost out of their joints.

There is a spot just by the right side as a motorist descends the flyover, a big pothole which has defied remedial measures stared him or her in the face.

Shortly after the pedestrian bridge at Joju area, the vehicle would have to switch over to the inward lane from Abeokuta, since it would not be able to continue the journey on its lane due to a failed stretch in front.

Getting to Onihale/Ilepa/Iya Bose axis, both lanes have failed sections, and vehicles had suffered serious damages at these sections, making their owners cough up their hard-earned money at the mechanics.

Also at the abandoned railway line at Ifo, both sides of the expressway require attention, but the inward lane from Abeokuta being the worst hit. Vehicles divert to inward lane from Lagos at this section.

The axis near the Lafarge Estate/Gudugba area inward Ifo from Abeokuta has failed.

The frontage of the Lafarge Cement factory, though some reclamation works were done there on both lanes, the undulating nature it has assumed poses pain and anguish to motorists and commuters.

Itori axis, on both lanes, is not any better. Due to the bad condition of the road, travelling time is prolonged as vehicles move with caution due to the potholes and undulating nature of the road. Traffic diverts to inward lane as motorists try to avoid the failed portions, sometimes with dire consequences.

Julius Berger has worked on a section of the road from Owode -Iyana Ijoko- to Sona Brewery area, and a section towards the tollgate and inward Lagos up to Meiran-Ijaiye, and nobody knows when the work will cover the whole length and breadth of the road.

Paucity of funds has been fingered as a major bane. Lagos and Ogun state governments had earlier written to the Federal Government indicating their interest to reconstruct the road through the Public Private Partnership and put a toll on it but that has yet to get the FG’s nod.

Many protests which include that of the Nigeria Labour Congress and lawyers in Ota, Ogun State have been carried out to draw government’s attention to the deplorable condition of the road.

The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has consistently worked to ensure that the reconstruction work is done on this road. He almost wept when he visited Sango-Ota sometimes last year die to the condition of the road.

In June 2022, he gave a hint that the state was ready to part fund the reconstruction of the road.

He said the administration has got the approval for a template that will allow the state government to partly fund the reconstruction as reported by the Daily Trust newspaper.

Speaking at Ota, during the 70th birthday ceremony of the Chairman of the Ogun State House of Assembly Service Commission, Olayiwola Taiwo, held in Ota, Abiodun noted that his administration agreed to be part of the funding for the reconstruction of the road after it realised that there was a shortfall in the 2022 budget.

The governor stated further that his administration was working round the clock towards ensuring the timely intervention and completion of the important road.

“It is most unfortunate that the road has been under contract before this administration, otherwise, we would have reconstructed the road as soon as we assumed office. But, because the road had been awarded to Julius Berger, we had to find ways and means to work with the Federal Government. We are working very hard and very soon, you will see that that road will be reconstructed speedily.

“We have finally got the approval for the template that will allow us as government to put some money into that construction as we have agreed to be part of the funding for the construction. We realized that there is a shortfall in the money that the government has approved in the 2022 budget.

“Our administration has, however, agreed to provide for that shortfall to allow for the full completion of the road from Ota to Abeokuta,” he said.

With this effort, there seems to a light at the end of the tunnel for Sango-Ota-Abeokuta road, but only time will tell.

 

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