22nd November, 2010
In recent times, many roads in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, have becomeÂ deplorable. Many of the roads became bad as a result several factors, which includeÂ the attitude of people, the terrain, non-classification of certain roads, age andÂ lack of maintenance by successive administrations, among others.
The dilapidated nature of the roads in the metropolis has been of concern to theÂ government and the public at large. From Tin-Can Island to Mile 2, Orile Iganmu toÂ Apapa Wharf, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, to Isolo and Ejigbo, the story is the same.Â From potholes to craters, the level of degradation has been so pathetic thusÂ necessitating the new approach the Lagos State government in adopting.
Now that the rains have abated, massive rehabilitation of roads have commencedÂ across the Lagos metropolis. Motorists have already started heaving a sigh ofÂ relief.Â One of the roads currently undergoing rehabilitation is Ijaiye road andÂ part of the Oba Ogunji road. These roads had become so deplorable that motorists forÂ long had a harrowing experience. With the completion of the drainage channel on bothÂ side of the roads, the next stage is for the roads to be tarred.
Extensive work has been carried out on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway with officialsÂ of the federal and state governments teaming up to patch the damaged parts of theÂ road. Already, traffic snarls on the road have become a thing of the past.
Across the metropolis, staff of the Lagos State Public Works Corporations, PWC, areÂ working assiduously to patch up portholes.
Governor Babatunde Fashola recently empowered the corporation to move out en masseÂ to patch bad roads in the state. On some of the roads, interlocking paving stonesÂ are used, especially in water-logged areas.
Executive Chairman, PWC, Mr. Gbenga Akinola admitted that some roads in theÂ metropolis need urgent attention. He stated that for effective and goal-drivenÂ performance, the state government has procured relevant equipment such as rollersÂ and tractors, among other machinery, to facilitate rehabilitation work, adding thatÂ in the last two months, over 100 roads across the state had been patched.
To further curb the problem of bad roads, the state government has come up with aÂ new approach tagged: Integrated Approach to Road Management in Lagos. IntegratedÂ road management is an inter-ministerial approach that comprises the Ministry ofÂ Works and Infrastructure, the Lagos Area Metropolitan Transport Authority, LAMATAÂ and the PWC.
The idea is that the three relevant institutions would engage in the constructionÂ and rehabilitation of roads in a way that their activities would complement oneÂ another other.
â€œEssentially, the â€˜Zero Tolerance to potholes and cratersâ€™ can only be meaningful ifÂ the three organisations work hand-in-hand with one another,â€ said Akintola,Â stressing that it is a new dawn in road maintenance in the state.
According to him, â€œto achieve this goal, certain things have been put in place.Â These include the purchase of modern equipment that can stand the test of time;Â training of personnel and introduction of certain materials for certain places; aÂ move that is capable of ensuring durability of roads, regardless of weatherÂ condition.
â€œThe equipment are currently at the disposal of the corporation and they includeÂ tractors, rollers, scrapers instead of just diggers.â€
However, certain areas within the metropolis have been considered very strategic andÂ need urgent rehabilitation and upgrading by the PWC. Such areas include theÂ Apapa-Tin Can-Oshodi axis, part of Agege motor road, the Lagos end of theÂ Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ikorodu-Owode Onirin axis and its environs.
â€œIn view of the terrain, government has introduced different materials for differentÂ areas. For example, asphalt would no longer be used in some areas that areÂ susceptible to flooding, but instead, interlocking paving stones would be employed.Â Apart from that, most of the roads that are prone to erosion and flooding wouldÂ henceforth require the application of stone base, while some would also needÂ underground fibre mat to prevent early deterioration.
â€œBased on expertsâ€™ advice and current engineering practices in road management, someÂ identified spots would require different materials. Indeed, there is no excuse forÂ waiting for favourable weather before embarking on road maintenance. The mandateÂ from Governor Fashola is that as much as possible, all roads in Lagos must be in aÂ better state,” he stated.
However, following expertsâ€™ advice, certain measures have to be in place to get theÂ needed results. Among these are the need for classification of roads and the typesÂ of vehicles that should ply them and the need to take an inventory of existing roadsÂ and the arm of government that have the statutory responsibility of theirÂ maintenance and to determine the existing period of these road and identify thoseÂ that are due for total reconstruction so that it would not be a case of putting oldÂ wine in a new bottle by way of rehabilitation.
Others are, setting up of a monitoring department to check the abuses that theseÂ roads are being subjected to by the public, especially traders, and theÂ indiscriminate cutting of roads by landlords and firms and other relevant measures.
Mr. Tolu Adefolarin, a structural engineer stated that the above measures are boundÂ to bring about better results in road maintenance in the state, while calling forÂ suggestions on how to introduce classification system as being done in other partsÂ of the world.
â€œFor instance, if all manners of vehicles are allowed on the Third Mainland Bridge,Â the infrastructure would have been in a bad state now. Therefore there is need toÂ introduce such measures on some roads in order to ensure sustainability,â€ added Mr.Â Timothy Adeyemo, a civil engineer based in Ikeja.
With the available roads in the metropolis not enough to cater for the large volumeÂ of vehicles plying them, an integrated railway system that will convey millions ofÂ passengers at a go is being advocated for the metropolis, whose population continuesÂ to double on a daily basis.
According to the PWC chairman, the Federal Government should facilitate theÂ establishment of an integrated railway system in Lagos, being a mega city with aÂ high population. This, he said, would help to reduce the incessant traffic gridlockÂ on roads in the state.