It is no longer news that the first phase of the reconstruction and upgrading of the Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway has been completed and delivered for public use.
Recently, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was in Epe to commission the 18.75-kilometer-long stretch from Eleko to Epe T-junction.
With the commissioning, the government has successfully turned the hitherto two-lane rural roadway into a six-lane rigid concrete carriageway.
Undoubtedly, this is a significant improvement in the effort to redevelop the rural road, built over 40 years ago. Before reconstruction, the infrastructure was in bad shape, due to an upsurge in average daily traffic volumes, subjecting road users to delay and hardship.
However, the narrative has changed with the upgrade of the road into six lanes, with street light installation and dedicated tracks for trailers. Motorists plying the route now enjoy stress-free commuting.
In the characteristic style of his administration, after opening the first phase of the road, Sanwo-Olu straight away flagged off the second phase of the road project, which will extend the construction from the Eleko axis to Abraham Adesanya Roundabout.
According to the Governor, the project’s second phase would be done in two segments. This is for ease of funding and to reduce the traffic impact of the construction work on commuters.
The 18.6km first segment, Sanwo-Olu said, would take off from Eleko to Awoyaya and critical sections around Majek and Ogidan. The second segment, which is 11km, will kick off at Ogidan to Abraham Adesanya Roundabout.
The development marked another effort by the Sanwo-Olu administration to invest in infrastructure that would positively impact the socioeconomic well-being of the residents.
As earlier stated, before the intervention, the expressway was in critical condition, creating agony for travelers and causing pain in the movement of goods and services.
The inauguration of the road project came after 40 years; the infrastructure was initially constructed as a rural cross-section without a drain.
The Sanwo-Olu-led government began reconstructing and upgrading the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway from the existing two-lane to a three-lane dual carriageway with a reinforced concrete pavement with a lane in each direction dedicated for trucks to accommodate the envisaged axle loads.
Considering the correlation between infrastructure development and economic growth, the project will further set the Lekki-Epe corridor on the path of socio-economic prosperity and progress.
As it is already known, the Lekki-Epe axis is fast emerging as an urban economic hub. Therefore, the government is investing in critical infrastructure to sustain the pace of economic growth along the corridor.
The reconstruction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway is, no doubt, a laudable project that will positively impact the lives of residents, eliminate traffic gridlocks, drastically reduce the travel time of commuters, and businesses as well as improve the socio-economic activities around the axis.
Since its inception in 2019, given the indispensability of quality and access roads to social-economic development, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has rightly accorded road construction and utmost rehabilitation consideration in the scheme of things.
This is not surprising since a significant pledge of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is to attain a ‘Greater Lagos’ through infrastructure development.
Thus, to sustain current efforts at improving road infrastructure across the State, the Sanwo-Olu administration embarked on the reconstruction and upgrade of phase 1 of the 40-year-old Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway.
Undoubtedly, the Lekki axis has become a central industrial and commercial hub in the State and, indeed, the country. The Lekki Free Zone, Dangote Refinery, and Lekki Deep Seaport are all in the zone.
Considering the economic viability of the axis, the reconstruction of the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway would certainly aid socio-economic activities in the zone, thereby giving investors better value for their money.
The road was constructed in 1981 as a single-carriageway but underwent an upgrade to a two-lane carriageway in 2006. However, its condition became deplorable due to population growth and increased vehicular traffic.
With the latest intervention by the Sanwo-Olu administration, the entire stretch of the road from Eleko to Epe has been dualized on the rigid pavement, with three lanes on each side. A lane on each side will be dedicated as toll weighbridges for heavy-duty vehicles.
As earlier affirmed, the Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe corridor is strategically vital to the state’s economic prosperity, hence the completion of the project would further strengthen the Sanwo-Olu administration’s commitment to inclusive development.
Because of current development and realities, especially the ‘Alaro City’ Lekki Free Trade Zone among other Public-Private Partnership projects going on in the area, there is no doubt that a new Lagos is sure to birth from the Epe division of Lagos State.
With the current pace of infrastructure development across the state, it is clear that Lagos State is on the fast track toward bridging its road infrastructural deficit. The once-familiar narrative of rotten and broken roads is now changing for the good.
Though there may have been moments of misreading of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s passion to fill the infrastructural gap urgently, that has not subtracted from his administration’s burning desire to put taxpayer’s money into judicious use.
The current administration is providing the burgeoning population of the state with road infrastructure development unparallel in the annals of the state. The government investment priority on roads is outstanding, especially when it is considered that road remains the most common means of transportation in the state.
Meanwhile, residents and commuters are urged to use all public infrastructures developed across the state. The way to safeguard public property is for all to be vigilant and report vandals to police or community leaders for appropriate action.
It is only when everyone realizes that the manhole covers are meant to serve our interest that the trend of vandalization will be maximally contained.
Under whatever guise, no one has any right to damage, steal or vandalize public infrastructure. A state with many needs to use its scarce resources cannot afford to waste such resources on replacing vandalized property by the same citizens it is working hard to serve.
Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, at the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.
Source: The Guardian