Mr Funso Adebiyi, the Director, Federal Highways, Southwest, on Monday appealed to transport unions to evacuate trucks parked around the Ogere area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, obstructing reconstruction works on the highway.
Adebiyi made the appeal during a stakeholders’ meeting at the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) project yard on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders at the meeting included transport unions, truck owners, drivers’ associations, law enforcement agencies, traffic regulatory agencies, traditional rulers and community residents’ association leaders, among others.
Explaining the reason for the gathering, Adebiyi said that the RCC contractor on Section 2 of the project had suspended work around Ogere because articulated vehicles parked illegally blocked the highway, making it impossible for the contractor to access the site.
He said that reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair works were ongoing on various Trunk A One to Trunk A Nine roads simultaneously across the Southwest and the entire nation ahead of Yuletide.
“We called this meeting in order for us to complete this important road. We started work from Ibadan and got to Ogere and your trucks are parked there. We had to suspend work and the truck drivers are there illegally.
“This government is magnanimous in road construction. If we do not have access to the site to do this work, the Southwest looses out,’’ he said.
Highlighting the importance of Trunk A One to A Nine roads, Adebiyi listed various ongoing projects starting from Apapa Port in Lagos through other crucial highways in Ogun and Oyo States beneficial to the nation’s economy.
The director listed the challenges of constructing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway through Lagos, Ogun and Oyo to include accidents by reckless driving that recently killed two site engineers.
He appealed for the cooperation of all the stakeholders to speed up construction works, while also appealing to communities to shun hostilities with construction workers.
He assured that modalities for paying compensation on property on the Right of Way of the project had been completed, saying that payments would commence soon.
Adebiyi appealed that trucks should vacate the highway by a minimum of 50 meters from the road setback for ease of construction.
He also noted that diversion signs would be appropriately mounted and supervised.
He directed that the debris from excavation of the highway should be used to stabilise some bad roads and also directed the reconstruction of some sections for accessibility of trucks to their parks.
Adebiyi also assured that contractors had been mobilised to carry out rehabilitation works on all the roads in the Southwest apart from ongoing contracts to ensure smooth rides.
He said that all construction zones would be opened to traffic on Dec. 15.
“We have mapped out strategies to ensure that we carry out diversion on short stretches of two to three kilometers to reduce stress.
“We are not insensitive to your plight. We just want you to move 50 metres away to allow for reconstruction,’’ he said.
Various stakeholders proffered solutions with the drivers and transport unions pledging their commitment to comply with rules and directives.
The stakeholders, however, appealed for rehabilitation of some parts of the Ogere Truck Park.
The Officer in Charge, Trailer Park Police Station, SP Olarenwaju Kalejaiye, talked about enforcement logistics with the Operation AWATSE Commander in Ogun, Capt. Abubakar Avuya, alongside other agencies.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Sector Commander of Ogun, Mr Clement Oladele and his Oyo counterpart, Mrs Winifred Chukwurah, read `riot acts’ within their jurisdictions and appealed for the cooperation of all stakeholders and road users.
They called for lane discipline as well as compliance with traffic rules, adherence to road and diversion signs, alongside patience by motorists to avert gridlock and accident.
Representatives of the various communities in attendance appealed for rehabilitation of some link roads not captured by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway reconstruction and rehabilitation project.
Heads of both Yoruba and Hausa communities in attendance also appealed for rehabilitation of some inner roads in their communities.
NAN reports that after the meeting, the director led a delegation of traffic regulatory agencies and ministry officials to Ogere and Toll Gate Motor Parks close to Ibadan to educate truck drivers.
During the interactive sessions at the motor parks, drivers and the leadership of the parks pledged total commitment in support of evacuation of trucks for speedy completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project.