Ahead of the Yuletide and to ensure smooth travelling experience for motorists, the federal government on Tuesday opened the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to traffic.
The government also inspected the progress of repair works on the Ikorodu/Sagamu road.
Opening the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Adedamola Kuti, said the highway was “special and very dear to the Federal Government.”
He explained that it was important because the road began from Apapa ports and terminates in the northern part of the country.
Mr Kuti added that it took traffic from the 36 states of the federation, hence, the speedy completion of repairs around the construction zones and opening the highway to traffic.
“A lot of people are coming out of Lagos going home for the celebration and some are also coming in from all the states of the federation into Lagos.
“What we are doing today is to open up all the construction areas and open up the entire highway to traffic for the period of the season, we will resume our work in January,’’ he said.
He said the ministry was going to use the dry season to speed up reconstruction of the highway, adding that all hands were on deck with the contractors working tirelessly to achieve speedy completion.
Mr Kuti said the section one of the project which spans from Ojota in Lagos State to the Sagamu Interchange was awarded at an initial cost of N70 billion but the sum was reviewed upward to N134 billion after additional works were added to the project.
He said increase in the volume of work on the site meant an extension of completion time for the project.
“For now we are opening up this road for the use of the motoring public and I want to also seize this opportunity to, on behalf of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, to appeal to motorists and commuters using this road to drive safely with caution, observe all traffic rules and regulations, including speed.
“On our on part, in the meantime, we are handing over to the Federal Roads Safety (FRSC) so that they take control of traffic on the road,’’ he said.
The Sector Commander of the FRSC, Ogun State, Clement Oladele, said the FRSC were going to be on 24 hours surveillance of the highway to prevent gridlock and accidents.
He said in 2017 the Lagos to Ogun end of the highway recorded 1.8 million travellers and about two million travellers had used the highway from January to date.
He said a special operations unit had been set up by the FRSC for the Yuletide to manage traffic on the highway from December 15 to January 15 in 2019.
He explained that 210 deaths due to road crashes were recorded on the Ogun side of the highway in 2017 but efforts were on to stop road crashes across the federation.
“We are estimating that minimum of 350,000 vehicles will move on this road this season.
“I want to assure the motoring public that FRSC is here, we have commenced 24 hours operations since December 1, just to ensure people travel in safety with minimal discomfort,’’ he said.
NAN reports that after the highway was opened, road users who spoke to journalists expressed joy and thanked the federal government for being sensitive to the plight of road users.
They said the opening would reduce stress caused by gridlock and accidents on the highway.
NAN also reports that the controller inspected the 34 kilometers Ikorodu Sagamu Road where construction was going on at various sections.
Mr Kuti said the highway was important because it was linking the Ikorodu Division in Lagos to the Sagamu Division in Ogun and took as well as dispersed huge traffic from the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
“The project is actually starting from Lagos and terminating in Sagamu and the method the contractor is adopting is to work at the critical sections and then later we link them up,’’ he said.
He said various construction methods were being deployed on the road taking into cognisance the traffic demand of each section.
He added that government was passionate about completing repairs of the highways which serves as alternative route to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.