Tackling Bad Roads In Lagos


In recent times, many roads in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, have become  deplorable. Many of the roads became bad as a result several factors, which include  the attitude of people, the terrain, non-classification of certain roads, age and  lack of maintenance by successive administrations, among others.

The dilapidated nature of the roads in the metropolis has been of concern to the  government and the public at large. From Tin-Can Island to Mile 2, Orile Iganmu to  Apapa Wharf, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, to Isolo and Ejigbo, the story is the same.  From potholes to craters, the level of degradation has been so pathetic thus  necessitating the new approach the Lagos State government in adopting.

Now that the rains have abated, massive rehabilitation of roads have commenced  across the Lagos metropolis. Motorists have already started heaving a sigh of  relief.  One of the roads currently undergoing rehabilitation is Ijaiye road and  part of the Oba Ogunji road. These roads had become so deplorable that motorists for  long had a harrowing experience. With the completion of the drainage channel on both  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 officials  of the federal and state governments teaming up to patch the damaged parts of the  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, are  working assiduously to patch up portholes.

Governor Babatunde Fashola recently empowered the corporation to move out en masse  to patch bad roads in the state. On some of the roads, interlocking paving stones  are used, especially in water-logged areas.

Executive Chairman, PWC, Mr. Gbenga Akinola admitted that some roads in the  metropolis need urgent attention. He stated that for effective and goal-driven  performance, the state government has procured relevant equipment such as rollers  and tractors, among other machinery, to facilitate rehabilitation work, adding that  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 a  new approach tagged: Integrated Approach to Road Management in Lagos. Integrated  road management is an inter-ministerial approach that comprises the Ministry of  Works and Infrastructure, the Lagos Area Metropolitan Transport Authority, LAMATA  and the PWC.

The idea is that the three relevant institutions would engage in the construction  and rehabilitation of roads in a way that their activities would complement one  another other.

“Essentially, the ‘Zero Tolerance to potholes and craters’ can only be meaningful if  the three organisations work hand-in-hand with one another,” said Akintola,  stressing that it is a new dawn in road maintenance in the state.

According to him, “to achieve this goal, certain things have been put in place.  These include the purchase of modern equipment that can stand the test of time;  training of personnel and introduction of certain materials for certain places; a  move that is capable of ensuring durability of roads, regardless of weather  condition.

“The equipment are currently at the disposal of the corporation and they include  tractors, rollers, scrapers instead of just diggers.”

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However, certain areas within the metropolis have been considered very strategic and  need urgent rehabilitation and upgrading by the PWC. Such areas include the  Apapa-Tin Can-Oshodi axis, part of Agege motor road, the Lagos end of the  Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ikorodu-Owode Onirin axis and its environs.

“In view of the terrain, government has introduced different materials for different  areas. For example, asphalt would no longer be used in some areas that are  susceptible to flooding, but instead, interlocking paving stones would be employed.  Apart from that, most of the roads that are prone to erosion and flooding would  henceforth require the application of stone base, while some would also need  underground fibre mat to prevent early deterioration.

“Based on experts’ advice and current engineering practices in road management, some  identified spots would require different materials. Indeed, there is no excuse for  waiting for favourable weather before embarking on road maintenance. The mandate  from Governor Fashola is that as much as possible, all roads in Lagos must be in a  better state,” he stated.

However, following experts’ advice, certain measures have to be in place to get the  needed results. Among these are the need for classification of roads and the types  of vehicles that should ply them and the need to take an inventory of existing roads  and the arm of government that have the statutory responsibility of their  maintenance and to determine the existing period of these road and identify those  that are due for total reconstruction so that it would not be a case of putting old  wine in a new bottle by way of rehabilitation.

Others are, setting up of a monitoring department to check the abuses that these  roads are being subjected to by the public, especially traders, and the  indiscriminate cutting of roads by landlords and firms and other relevant measures.

Mr. Tolu Adefolarin, a structural engineer stated that the above measures are bound  to bring about better results in road maintenance in the state, while calling for  suggestions on how to introduce classification system as being done in other parts  of the world.

“For instance, if all manners of vehicles are allowed on the Third Mainland Bridge,  the infrastructure would have been in a bad state now. Therefore there is need to  introduce such measures on some roads in order to ensure sustainability,” added Mr.  Timothy Adeyemo, a civil engineer based in Ikeja.

With the available roads in the metropolis not enough to cater for the large volume  of vehicles plying them, an integrated railway system that will convey millions of  passengers at a go is being advocated for the metropolis, whose population continues  to double on a daily basis.

According to the PWC chairman, the Federal Government should facilitate the  establishment of an integrated railway system in Lagos, being a mega city with a  high population. This, he said, would help to reduce the incessant traffic gridlock  on roads in the state.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

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