Agonizing wait for commissioning of Ejigbo-Ajao Estate Link Bridge

By Tope Templer Olaiya

AFTER much agitations spanning decades, the long-suffering residents of Isolo, Ejigbo, Isheri-Osun, Ikotun, Abaranje, Igando, Idimu, Ijegun and beyond heaved a sigh of relief when the Lagos State government awarded contract for the Ajao Estate-Oke Afa link bridge to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in November 2011.

   The Oke-Afa community benefitted from the 2002 Ikeja cantonment bomb-blast disaster with construction of the bridge to pass over the Oke-Afa canal, even though it took the government nine years the accomplished that after the promise was first made in 2003 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the tragedy.

   With few months short of the stipulated period of 18 months, the 2.1km dual-lane road, which starts from the NNPC depot at Ejigbo and ends at Chivita Avenue, Ajao Estate, was completed two months ago with modern-day road furniture, which included covered drainage on both lanes, a walkway for pedestrians, road barrier and streetlights.

   On completion of the project in September this year, the road was unofficially opened for public use even as the contractor waited on the state for the project handover and commissioning. 

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However, though the road was only partially opened for test running, it was praise galore for the governor for shunning resistance from some quarters to make the project a reality.

   Residents felt reduced pressure on the agonizing Isolo-Ejigbo-Ikotun traffic, as commuting from that axis of the state to mainland Lagos was smooth sailing.

   But at the peak of the residents’ joy an incident spoilt the fun.

   An accident on the yet-to-be-commissioned road, which broke the leg of a pedestrian, forced CCECC to abruptly shut the bridge and allowed only pedestrians to use the facility, forcing road users to endure the excruciating traffic on the busy Isolo-Jakande Estate road.

   After the incident, there were some readjustment to the project design as Oke-Afa residents and a group, Nigerians Unite For Road Safety (NUFORSA) pushed for more user-friendly road infrastructure like pedestrian crossing and speed bumps to protect the anticipated high pedestrian and vehicular traffic on the densely populated community.

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Faced with a new challenge, efforts are on to make sure critical road furniture, particularly road signage, are completed before the facility is ready for use. Some roads have already been designated one-way route and the directional signs are expected to make traffic diversion in Ajao Estate easier for motorists.

   The project supervisor, the state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, explaining why the commissioning of the link bridge is delayed, told The Guardian that after the accident, there were agitations by the communities – Ajao Estate and Oke-Afa – on the need for safety of road users. This resulted in the postponement of the commissioning to ensure all safety facilities are in place.

   “To avoid the situation that occurred at the Lekki-Epe expressway recently, where a truck killed some pupils and residents in the area requested for a pedestrian bridge, we decided to redesign the Ajao Estate-Ejigbo link bridge by first sending a memo to the Ministry of Transport to inspect the road and come up with possible recommendation,” an official of the ministry said.

   According to him, the project redesigning would be completed before the end of November or if there is delay, it would be first week of December,” he pledged. 

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5 thoughts on “Agonizing wait for commissioning of Ejigbo-Ajao Estate Link Bridge

  1. Felix U. says:

    The completion of the Ejigbo- Ajao road in isolation will not be a permanent remedy to the traffic. Almost all the roads on the Oke-Afa, Ejigbo axis and beyond are in a terrible state and need total reconstruction. In the interim, I suggest the repair or construction of Peter Agha street (the road that runs parallel to the Oke Afa canal) as this will take a lot of cars off the main Oke-Afa, Ejigbo road to the newly constructed Ejigbo-Ajao road without them having to go through Ajao estate and compound the problems of Ajao estate which has a very narrow road network.

  2. topetempler says:

    Ejigbo LCDA chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan, wrote today (Monday, November 25, 2013): All hands are on deck to ensure that the Ajao-Ejigbo link bridge is opened to motorists this weekend. This morning, the installation of directional signs will begin. I was at the site this morning to see the signs.”

  3. Felix U. says:

    That is refreshing to know, and I’m glad to get a response from none other than the LCDA Chairman. However, the Lagos state govt has to do a lot more to convince the electorate than just the Ejigbo-Ajao road which is the first fresh road construction in the LCDA in the last 14 years or so. The state of roads in Ejigbo LCDA and beyond is terrible. The contractors handling the Ejigbo and Okota roads are probably better off doing side streets than major roads, and the pace of their work was very slow and uncoordinated until it ground to a halt. As the dry season sets in, we hope to see not only repairs but also fresh construction as we residents feel a sense of abandonment.

  4. topetempler says:

    Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola has assured residents of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area that solution would be offered to the problem of bad roads in the area. Fashola gave the assurance on Thursday while addressing members of Community Development Associations across the state, during the celebration of year 2013 Community Day, at Police College Parade Ground in Ikeja.
    He said: “As for residents of Ejigbo, I feel your pain as regard your bad road network, I must confess I received all your text messages, and I feel your pain. Presently, we are working on 254 roads in the state, all our contractors are engaged and the weather is not in our favour. As soon as there is climate satisfaction, we will move to improve road network in Ejigbo, I feel your pain”.

  5. Felix U. says:

    I take Gov Fashola’s words very seriously. If he says he’s coming to fix Ejigbo soon, I do not doubt it. When he makes good his promise, I will be the first to write him a letter of appreciation.

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