NIGERIA’S busiest motorway the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will face a partial shutdown for four months as from August 3 as the federal government carries out repairs on the road in response to calls for it to be rehabilitated.
Opened in the late 1970s as Nigeria’s flagship motorway, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway has gradually become run-down as neglect and poor maintenance. In response to a public outcry that the road is becoming a death trap, successive governments have been working on it over recent years and the present administration has decided to continue work there.
Repair work is expected to last for four months, with work on the Lagos end lasting two months, likewise that at the Ibadan end. Notorious when it comes to traffic jams, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway sometimes looks like a car park at certain sections and to avoid this getting worse, a huge signpost has been erected near the Ogun River Bridge warning of delays while the road works last.
Apart from regular traffic, there are several internationally-acclaimed centres of worship like The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) camp, Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) camp and other religious centres along the highway, making it the busiest in the West African sub-region. For instance, the RCCG’s 67th annual convention is billed to start on August 5 and run until the 11th, while Muslims’ Eid al-Adha, popularly referred to as Ileya Festival, starts on August 11 and runs until the 13th.
Taiwo Olufemi, the permanent secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Transport, said: “You know that Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is the busiest road in West Africa and in recent past, everybody has been clamouring that the federal government should repair the road. The repair works have begun in sections of the road not within Lagos State but now they want to enter Lagos State and the state government won’t allow any repair works on the Lagos-Ibadan Road without informing the public.
“We won’t also allow repair work to begin without redirecting traffic so that motorist will have a palliative measure during the road repair. So, it was based on this that the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing gave us their programme and we discussed with them the traffic management plans.”
He added that to address the problem, they are going to have four locations where they will redirect traffic. According to Mr Olufemi, the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency will be the Lagos State side, while the Federal Road Safety Corps will be on ground on the federal government side.
“The whole place to be worked on will have floodlights placed in strategic places to aid vehicular movement at night. The idea of having the whole area lit at night is also to ensure that Julius Berger is able to complete the repair work on time.
“The repair work is expected to last for four months. Inward Lagos where the work will start from will last for two months, while outward Lagos will also last for another two months,” Mr Olufemi added.