THOUGH repairs on Dopemu and Iyana-Ipaja bridges were completed at least three days ahead of schedule, residents of the areas are not impressed. According to them what the bridges need is expansion rather than the purported repairs.
Vanguard investigations, showed that most of the users of the bridges are not impressed by government’s ‘half measure’ which they believe will not cure the perennial traffic gridlock on the bridges.
Consequently, motorists as well as residents in Egbeda /Akowonjo axis have appealed to the state government to consider expanding the bridge, saying population explosion and increasing vehicular traffic in the area have made the expansion a necessity.
Motorists and other road users were however, surprised at the turn of event as there was no serious traffic gridlock during the maintenance work against earlier expectation by stakeholders of a total traffic breakdown.
Apart from the first day and second day of the commencement, there were no serious traffic gridlock, apparently due to efforts of the over 20 traffic officials, led by Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA who operated almost 15 hours daily to ward off any traffic jam.
According to motorists, one of the reasons there was no serious traffic during the maintenance work around Dopemu was the opening of the median barrier along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, which made a turn around movement quicker rather than going through the narrow Swipha road which is a bottleneck to easy flow of traffic.
One of the residents, Mr. Bamidele Idowu, who claimed he had been living in the area for about 35 years, said at the time the bridge was constructed, the area had not experienced what he called “astronomical increase in population. What we need in this area is pure expansion and not really maintenance alone. Therefore, the state government needs to come up with a holistic maintenance structure for all its bridges considering its status as one of the fastest growing megacities.”
According to Mr StephenChucks, a trader in Ikeja, who lives in Alimosho, “The heavy traffic experienced daily on the Abeokuta-Oshodi Expressway can be minimised if the Dopemu Bridge that has a single lane is expanded to two lanes on both sides. All the vehicles going to Egbeda, Shasha, Ikotun and Badagry (just to mention a few) all ply this narrow bridge, thereby causing heavy hold-up even on Sundays. The authorities concerned should do something so that Nigerians using this bridge can experience a free flow of traffic.
“Also, if the opened median barrier can be developed, it will serve as a relief to mounting motorists along this axis, as it will take away the rush and bottleneck at Swipha Road. The link roads opened as alternatives, have proven that the perennial traffic gridlocks along the axis can be reduced if the present structure is allowed to subsist.
“In the event of any collapse of the bridge, the entire Akowonjo and environs will be totally cut off. The only alternative way, which is Iyana Ipaja-Agege Link Bridge, will take the backlash of high volume of traffic.”
The link roads are: Irepodun Street, Alaguntan, Vincent Street, Akiwowo Road and Cash Street, all off Alimoso Road.