Ahead of the rains, calls mount for speedy completion of ongoing road projects

o Bad weather, relocation of obstructing structures, facilities on RoW are causes of delay – Commissioner

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

ImageRain Rain Go Away

The rains are here again and it is about another time Lagosians begin to sing the old nursery rhyme: Rain rain, go away.

   Recently, the Lagos State government through the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, announced that there would be 263 days of rainfall this year starting from March 14 to December 21, with a margin error of nine days.

“The rainfall pattern showed that in the second week of March 2014, rain will commence till mid July when it will recess before starting again in September till December when the season will end. The little dry season will likely begin in July 15 and will end in August 31.”

   Bello said the prediction showed that Lagos would likely have a normal rainfall in 2014, but added that surrounding states like Ogun and Oyo would have above normal rainfall. “The excess flow from dams in those states may cause flooding downstream realistically in Lagos if the water is not properly managed.”

   While many look forward to the rainy season as a huge relief from the searing heat of the last few weeks, the state of many inner-city roads in Lagos State is getting many Lagosians worried.

   From the bad roads to those undergoing rehabilitation, the drop of rainfall spells doom for some residents, as they have to endure hours of flash flood in a state several metres below the sea level.

Such roads are common sight from Alimosho to Ikeja, Amuwo-Odofin to Ogba, Kosofe to Ikorodu.

While Lagosians are appreciative of the intentions of government in initiating renewal contracts on some of the inner-city roads, which are currently at various stages of completion, many people interviewed said that the ordeal of navigating through many of the uncompleted projects with some of them already dug up and impassable, is causing growing unease and scare of a flood disaster.

Image

The rains are here again and it is about another time Lagosians begin to sing the old nursery rhyme: Rain rain, go away.

   Recently, the Lagos State government through the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, announced that there would be 263 days of rainfall this year starting from March 14 to December 21, with a margin error of nine days.

“The rainfall pattern showed that in the second week of March 2014, rain will commence till mid July when it will recess before starting again in September till December when the season will end. The little dry season will likely begin in July 15 and will end in August 31.”

   Bello said the prediction showed that Lagos would likely have a normal rainfall in 2014, but added that surrounding states like Ogun and Oyo would have above normal rainfall. “The excess flow from dams in those states may cause flooding downstream realistically in Lagos if the water is not properly managed.”

   While many look forward to the rainy season as a huge relief from the searing heat of the last few weeks, the state of many inner-city roads in Lagos State is getting many Lagosians worried.

   From the bad roads to those undergoing rehabilitation, the drop of rainfall spells doom for some residents, as they have to endure hours of flash flood in a state several metres below the sea level.

Such roads are common sight from Alimosho to Ikeja, Amuwo-Odofin to Ogba, Kosofe to Ikorodu.

While Lagosians are appreciative of the intentions of government in initiating renewal contracts on some of the inner-city roads, which are currently at various stages of completion, many people interviewed said that the ordeal of navigating through many of the uncompleted projects with some of them already dug up and impassable, is causing growing unease and scare of a flood disaster.

ImageHamzat

Residents of Mushin, Ikorodu, Ejigbo, Ijegun, Okota, Idimu, Ipaja and Ayobo said they coudn’t wait to see an end to the tortuous exercise of commuting with tears on uncompleted roads in their areas.     
   Mr. John Danye, a resident in Isheri Osun complained that the government has been constructing the about 10 kilometers road between Isheri Oshun and Jakande Estate in Ejigbo for well over a decade but that the project has remained uncompleted.
   Spokesman of the residents’ association of the community, Chief Adisa Akiode, said residents of Ikotun, Ejigbo, Isheri-Oshun and Ijegun have shouted themselves hoarse over the delay in fixing the road, which was started several years ago.
   He declared: “It is only recently the contractor, Hi-Tech Construction, moved back to site. We (people living in these areas and visitors) are getting use to passing through hell to conduct our businesses because of the poor condition of the road.
   “For over six years, the road was abandoned until early this year, when the contractor mobilized his men back to site and they started working on one lane. This has aggravated the traffic situation on the road as the other lane is left for both inward and outward-bound vehicles. We only pray the new pace of work will be maintained and we will see an end to this project, he lamented, adding:
   “The road is strategic and would be a huge relief when completed and it would help decongest traffic along Okota-Cele bus stop, as some would prefer to link Ago Palace Way, Mile 2 and Festac Town through Bucknor and Ijegun ends.”  
   When The Guardian visited the area, it was discovered that at the highly congested Iyana Ejigbo junction, a lane had, for up to a year now, been impassable due to drainage re-construction to solve the perennial flood problems in the area.
   Some Ejigbo residents said that respite only came to them recently when the governor commissioned the Ejigbo-Ajao Estate link bridge named ‘January 27 Bridge’ in memory of the January 27 Ikeja bomb blast victims.
    To find out the state government’s side of the deplorable conditions of the roads and what is being done about the various uncompleted roads projects in the metropolis, The Guardian approached the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat whose task it is to drive Governor Raji Fashola’s urban renewal project.
   Hamzat, while stressing that he had at several public fora given assurance on government’s commitment to complete ongoing road projects before 2015 runs out, he disclosed that about 367 inner-city roads with a total length of 350.686km were awarded in 2011.   
  “Of this,” he continued, “161 with a length of 147.347km have been completed and about 211 with a length of 211.339km are under different stages of completion.”
    According to him, this figure excludes the 58 inner-city road projects awarded in 2013 with a length of 64.527km, adding that this year (2014), about 31 new roads would be awarded while 17 others will be graded and resurfaced.
   He said the policy thrust of the state’s urban renewal project is “a multi-pronged strategy designed to make domestic trips enjoyable in the metropolis; drain water off the streets when it rains and provide, especially pedestrians with walkways in order to reduce accidents.”
   Referring to Joel Ogunnaike road in Ikeja GRA, which is being redeveloped into a dual carriageway with a standard drainage channel, he said the work was already 52 percent completed.
   He pointed out that the nightmare often experienced by residents of Ejigbo and Idimu in the past was gradually fading away with the construction of Idimu-Ejigbo road, which is now 50 percent completed.
   When completed, the road, which he said is strategic because it links Ikotun-Isheri and Egbe-Isolo roads, would redirect traffic flow and also provides viable alternatives for commuters going to Idimu, Shasha, Igando, Egbeda, Iba and Isheri from the Isolo and Cele Express routes.
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The commissioner acknowledged that over the years, the Idimu-Ejigbo road, which redevelopment contract was awarded in 2012, has been deplorable due to non-functional drainage system.
    Referring to Alimosho, he said the deplorable state of Meiran road generated concerns among several communities that the road links together.  
  “The road is being reconstructed into a dual carriageway, with walkways, streetlights, standard drainage system and service ducts among other facilities. When completed, it will enable commuters to go to Ayobo, Ipaja, Baruwa and other adjoining communities from Sango, Otta and Ifo among others without the need to get to Iyana Ipaja. Such commuters can connect their destination or residence through Meiran road en route Ajasa-Command road,” he affirmed
     Also worth mentioning is the Mosalashi-Ipaja-Ayobo road, which, according to Hamzat, has been 70 percent reconstructed.
   He noted that with a total length of 7.2km, the road is critical among about 69 road projects allocated to Alimosho between 2011 and 2013, the state’s most populated area.
   “The reconstruction of the road would reduce travel time, open up adjoining communities, abate erosion, flooding and enhance property value along the corridor,” the commissioner emphasized..
   He disclosed that in Ikorodu, about 15 road projects were underway, which include Obafemi Awolowo road, Ring road in Imota and Mile 12-Ikorodu road.
  “Across the state, a good number of inner-city roads are being reconstructed. In Badagry, seven road projects are underway. It is not true when some critics say the Fashola administration is only running an elitist government.” Hamzat said.
   A resident in Alimosho, Mr. Audu Kazeem, noted that the Meiran road and Alakuko road has solved a lot of accessibility challenges in the area. According to him, “drainage system in Meiran has been completed; median work is underway and walkway already demarcated, though much is yet to be done on the streetlight.
   “Though the road project has not been completed, ongoing work has seriously reduced public strain and trauma. I want the state government to fast-track the redevelopment of the road before the rainy season to avoid flooding,” he said.

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