Mile 2 to Alakija/Barracks Bu Stop shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, but those who ply the route nowadays spend upwards of six hours in traffic.
Thursday last week, it had rained in the afternoon. A deep crater that had been created close to the Mile 2 Bridge was filled with rainwater. A few vehicles fell inside the crater. To manoeuvre their way around the crater, drivers had to slow down totally, as no one was sure of the crater’s exact spot. That was the cause of the gridlock which forced many to spend the entire night on the road.
The Lagos- Badagry expressway is a strategic road that links other West African countries. It also connects residents on the mainland to the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Alaba international market and Trade Fair where high volume business transactions take place.
But with several man-hours wasted on the road, the direction has become one of the most unattractive areas in Lagos for business-minded people. Prospective buyers from other parts of Lagos now have to think twice before embarking on a journey to any of the markets.
What is most annoying to keen observers of this recurring and incessant traffic jam is that the ugly situation is usually caused by factors that are not insurmountable. But with negligence by people in authority who are saddled with the responsibility of making life worth living for the citizens, the masses continue to groan in excruciating pain.
Journeying through the Lagos- Badagry expressway would easily remind you of Thomas Hobbes’ description of the state of nature where there was no government and no civilization, where human existence was characterized by war of all against all.
The late English philosopher’s postulation aptly captures the agonies of commuters and motorists plying this route. They set out in the morning with enthusiasm to struggle for their daily bread, but are oftentimes trapped and stranded on the road. The heavy traffic on the road has been a major cause of nightmare for the road users. This has been further compounded since the commencement of re-construction of the road.
As usual, motorists who could no longer endure the gridlock alighted from the trapped vehicles and continued the journey on foot. Daily Sun learnt that many passengers trekked from Alakija to Mile 2.
“There was a day I trekked from under-bridge at Trade Fair complex to Mile2, not minding the risk attached to walking through that route, which is a danger for notorious criminals.
“I believe the solutions to the traffic congestion along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway lie in the completion of the project. This is why government needs to act quickly so that the people’s suffering would be reduced,” a man who resides on Badekale Street, Barracks said.
These days, many car owners abandon their vehicles in their officers and board commercial motorcycles just to get to their houses. Our correspondent gathered that motorcycle operators charge up to N1, 200 from Barracks to Mile 2.
But even as some groan in the Mile 2 traffic, some others are praying the situation should continue. These are the itinerant hawkers, known in Lagos as go-slow traders. On this road, vendors of all kinds of items quickly capitalize on the situation to make brisk business. They display assorted items ranging from bottled drinks, cashew nuts, and window blind rods to many others.
A security personnel in a publishing company around Mazamaza area told the reporter: “I left my house at a few minutes past 2:00 pm on Thursday, and I was to resume by 5pm. Could you believe that I spent almost five hours in the traffic between Abule Ado bus-stop and First Gate? imagine those still going to Mile 2 and how many more hours they will waste in the traffic. You cannot really quantify the amount of time wasted on the expressway because of the insensitivity and unserious attitudes of our government.”
Most times, men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and Police traffic wardens at various points on the road are overwhelmed by the enormity of the messy situation, and would eventually abandon the intractable gridlock.
The question remains, who is to blame for the gridlock? The FGN, LASG, truck drivers, or the impatient Lagos motorists?