The Ogun State Government has expressed deep concern about the hardship being faced by Nigerians who regularly commute on the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on account of the ongoing reconstruction work being undertaken by Julius Berger Plc on the Sagamu Interchange to Lagos State end.
The State Government has accordingly directed that with effect from August 8, 2016, the contractor, Julius Berger, shall not work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during the peak traffic hours.
It said in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, that the peak period will be regarded as between 6am and 10am and 4pm and 10pm.
Adeoluwa added in the statement: “We encourage the contractor to work full blast between 10am and 4pm and also during the night after 10pm.
“This measure has become necessary because we observed that the already bad traffic situation on the expressway has been further compounded by the increasing spate of armed robberies reported along the road.
“The Ogun State government welcomes the ongoing reconstruction works in the full realization of the fact that this will ultimately bring greater relief to our people. We however note that the effort has come with temporary pain, in the nature of perennial traffic congestion and security challenges.
“In the past few weeks, we took two steps. We increased police and security patrols on that axis and opened up discussions with the Federal Controller of Works, Ogun State and the contractor. We suggested that they should consider working late evenings and overnight in order to ameliorate the disruption to the lives of commuters on the ever-busy expressway and Ogun residents. It is a thing of regret that our suggestion was spurned.
“The state government made this request based on experience. We recall that before the advent of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun administration, armed robberies occasioned by bad portions of the road; traffic congestion caused by unruly drivers driving against the flow of traffic and tanker drivers parking indiscriminately on the median, were the order of the day.
“The public will recall that we confronted these challenges headlong. We set up a taskforce to checkmate the excesses of the trailer drivers so much so that the governor personally led regular enforcement teams on the expressway. We also invested heavily on redesigning the security architecture of the state by deploying Armoured Personnel Carriers, elite Quick Response Squad, QRS; Operation MESA and the state Traffic Enforcement and Compliance Agency, TRACE etc.
“We have also repeatedly intervened by undertaking major repair works on bad stretches of the road, not minding the fact that it is a Federal government highway.
“Additionally, we took responsibility for clearing traffic, maintaining security and cleaning after the departure of our monthly religious visitors. These efforts ultimately restored relative sanity on the road and greatly reduced robbery incidents. But that was until this recent intervention by Julius Berger.
“The objective of this directive is therefore to mitigate the man-hour losses as well as socio-economic disruptions occasioned by the ongoing reconstruction work.
In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation and proactively engage the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing and the contractors, Julius Berger Plc, with a view to fashioning a robust intervention that will address both the security and traffic situation on the road.
“We implore our people to remain calm as we work round the clock to redress the inconveniences.”
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