Lagos Set To Curb Damage To Roads


The rate at which roads in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, are being damaged by road users is worrisome. The Lagos State government, in the last four years has spend over N200billion to repair damaged roads in the state. Cutting of roads, burning of tyres on roads and other road degrading activities have damaged several roads in the state.

The attention of the state government has been drawn to many cases of road damage in different parts of the metropolis in recent times. This has generated much public outcry, which Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration said had been duly addressed from the prism of the covenant he made to residents of the state before he assumed office, and that his team would not rest on oars.

But Fashola’s administration recently expressed discontent with the manner roads and public infrastructure “are managed without a strong public will to protect and preserve the installations as it ought to.”

His concern prompted a stakeholders’ meeting recently to enlighten and sensitise Lagos residents in particular on the use of the roads and infrastructure within its territory.

At the stakeholders’ meeting, Engineer Ganiyu Aiyepe, Head, Lagos State Public Works Corporation, LSPWC, Department of Project Development, gave a graphic cost of road damage, which he said, was due to human action taken without due authorisation.

By implication, Aiyepe said the state government had lost billions of naira to road damage in the recent years apart from the cost on human lives and properties of individuals and corporate bodies.

He therefore used the opportunity to explain the root causes of road damage to chieftains of the National Union Road Transport Workers; Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria; Motorcycle Owners and Riders Society, Ajeigboro and Tipper Drivers Association; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and Lagos State Waste Management Authority, and the need to protect and preserve public installations.

According to him, factors affecting road damage included water retention, undue cutting of the roads, pouring of petroleum products on the roads, dumping refuse in drains, burning of tyres and other items on the roads and bad driving culture. He added that all the causes of road damage “result from the unguided and uncontrolled actions of the stakeholders and residents.”

The LSPWC Head of Department stated that petroleum products “have disintegrating effects on bitumen. This accounts for why asphalt easily disintegrates when it comes in contact with products like diesel and kerosene, among others. Indiscriminate road cutting often leads to damage. It is prohibited without permission from the government agency which has a mandate to regulate the use of roads and road infrastructure within the territory of Lagos State.”

Dr. Ola Oresanya, General Manager, Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, told the gathering that the root causes of road damage were not limited to what Aiyepe had explained at the stakeholders’ meeting. He urged all residents of the state to desist from dumping refuse and waste on the roads as well as in drainage channels, saying the waste naturally bred micro-organisms which eat up the roads after some time.

Oresanya said waste had caused lots of damage to roads and road infrastructure. “Definitely, it is the primary duty of LAWMA to evacuate refuse and waste in all parts of the state. When dumped on the roads, micro-organism must have eaten up the roads, and damage must have been done already. Rather than dumping waste, we have introduced waste cans in which refuse can be properly disposed in order to avoid unnecessary road damage.

Also, the manner of driving on Lagos intra-city roads pricks the mind of Mr. Gbenga Akintola, Chairman, LSPWC, an attitude which he spoke against at the meeting, citing various instances of road damage and what it costs the state government to repair the roads, warning motorists in the state against driving on the walkways, median section and shoulder of the roads.

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According to him, “the roads are built with the taxpayers’ monies. The state government has been spending more on road maintenance and repairs. What it costs to repair the roads ought to have been allocated to construct new roads. We spend money to build and construct new roads as part of measures we need to take to prevent road damage. It is not reasonable to continue with the trend, and the state’s residents need attitude change.”

“The rate of spending on road damage brought a conclusion that the residents of the state are the primary owners of the roads. It is also our responsibility to protect and preserve the state roads. Failing to do this, we will not enjoy the services the roads are meant to provide. For this reason, our roads must be protected and maintained. This will help us to avoid double spending by the way of repairing bad roads.”

Akintola’s message brought to mind the huge amount of money the state government under Fashola had invested in reconstructing, rehabilitating and constructing both major and intra-city roads in the last four years. Diverse road reconstruction works that the administration carried out since it began operations have manifested in different parts of the metropolis and its expansive suburbs from Badagry to Epe, Lagos Island to Mainland and from Alimosho to Ikorodu division of the state.

Some of the road projects Fashola’s administration embarked upon are widely considered ambitious, some of which have started attracting global attention and foreign investors the world over. The Lekki-Epe Expressway, for instance, is being reconstructed under the Public-Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement with a view to opening up Lagos East to such neigbouring states as Edo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states.

The 50-kilometre expressway, according to Fashola, was designed to divert human and vehicular traffic from the Third Mainland Bridge, Funsho Williams Avenue and Ikorodu Road, which are currently feeder roads to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Even though the project has been generating public debate, Fashola believes that in decades it “will dawn on the residents and stakeholders of the state that Lekki-Epe highway is one of the best projects this administration has been able to execute in line with our campaign covenant and manifesto,” he added.

Another historic road project the administration has been executing in the last two years is the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, despite its huge cost implication. About 22-kilometre long, the inter-state expressway falls under the federal government, though the successive governments at the centre outrightly abandoned the road, but the state government intervened under the administration of Fashola.

But in what he described as the pressing needs to open Lagos West up to West African states, Fashola said the state government “conceived the idea of expanding the Lagos-Badagry Expressway as part of our plan of transforming the state to Africa’s model mega-city. The road is being developed into 10 lanes and has metro light rail, which is designed to reduce vehicular traffic on the corridor and facilitate mass movement with ease.”

According to Fashola, Nigeria is the only country that has not constructed its section inter-state roads in West African corridor. The federal government, under different leaders in the last 12 years had abandoned the road. “We decided to construct it because we have to take our destiny in our own hand. We do not have to wait for the federal government to get things in Lagos State irrespective of which government has he onus to do the job.”

Aside the Lekki-Epe and Lagos-Badagry roads, the Fashola administration had brought a major facelift to the Lagos Central Business District, CDD, Apapa CBD and Yaba CBD by constructing roads, which the Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ganiyu Johnson said, were designed to facilitate both economic and social activities. Accord to him, this goal, though difficult, was being achieved gradually.

Fashola said in different divisions of the state, the state government “is making well-directed efforts to construct new roads and rehabilitate old ones. This is evident in a total of146 roads already built and this translates to 165 kilometres while within the next few months, 44 roads consisting of a total of 77 kilometres will be completed while another 60 roads that will add 129 kilometeres are in various stages of completion.”

Considering the huge investment the state government has committed to road projects, the LSWPC boss urged Lagos residents to ensure protection and preservation of the public infrastructure, which he said, included roads and other public installations.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

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