By Shola Fadeyi
As part of measures to check the impact of articulated vehicles on the perennial gridlock on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, the Federal Government has renewed its plan to build a 4,000 trailer capacity Park, in Ogere , located in Ogun State axis of the highway.
There are however indications that the truck park is one of such facilities being promoted across Nigeria by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) ,the Economic Regulator of the seaports to check indiscriminate parking of trucks on bridges and highways in the country, as well as reduce the traffic bottlenecks on the Ports Access Roads.
The Co-ordinating Director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation in Nigeria, Mr Funsho Adebiyi restated this plan at the weekend while inspecting the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation and reconstruction project, adding that government was committed to taming the incessant gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
He said the park will be constructed along the Ogere end but appealed to the truck drivers, to meanwhile, stop parking on the highways, as well as put an end to their other road abuses which aggravate the gridlock on the roads and endanger the safety of commuters.
The Director lamented the constant presence of articulated trucks, parking indiscriminately on the Ogere section of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, where construction work is ongoing as well as the damage they are causing to the project.
According to him , trailers in their hundreds park on the road shoulders that are being constructed by the Federal Government , with some of them , carrying as much as 900 bags of cement , which are abandoned there on the road shoulder ,even as they take over part of the roads that would have been used by other vehicles.
He explained that apart from the dead weight of the parked trucks which causes quick road degeneration, the vehicles are usually repaired on the road, while they spill petroleum products on the highway as well as contribute to the gridlock.The Director said that such petroleum products caused materials used to construct the highway to disintegrate fast and damage the road.
The director said that rickety vehicles and reckless driving were the usual causes of gridlock on the Lagos axis of the highway, appealing to owners of such rickety vehicles to stay off highways to avert breakdowns , which leads to hardship for road users. He pleaded for lane discipline as well as adherence to traffic rules to end gridlock on the Lagos end of the Expressway.
Adebiyi also revealed that the Federal Government has decided to call another tripartite meeting with the Lagos, Ogun and Oyo state governments, truck drivers and owners and traffic regulatory agencies among others, to fashion out new strategies to combat the traffic congestion on the highways and check the various abuses on the roads by truck drivers.
He said that four previous stakeholders meeting held with truck drivers and owners, as well as other stakeholders did not achieve the desired results hence the need for another meeting.
While inspecting section One of the highway which stretches from Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange, Adebiyi said the federal government was constructing additional two major interchanges adding that two flyovers were being constructed on section one, in addition to 14 existing ones on other stretches in Ogun and Oyo, to curb gridlock and improve safety of new communities along the axis.
The Lagos – Ibadan Expressway project was flagged off in 2013 and was awarded to two firms, Julius Berger which is constructing section One, which covers Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange and RCC, in charge of Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan.