By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government on Monday flagged off the reconstruction of the Oshodi-International Airport Road, with a pledge to complete the project within the next 15 months.
The State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode had last month at the quarterly Town Hall meeting held in Badore area of Ajah, announced that the reconstruction of the road, which is a major gateway to the country, would commence in September, and that the construction would facilitate the transformation of the road to a world class standard.
Specifically, the design of the project included the reconstruction and expansion of the existing carriage to three-lane Expressway on both directions, construction of two-lane Service road in both directions, construction of ramp bridge to provide a u-turn from Ajao Estate to Airport, construction of a flyover at NAHCO/Toll Gate and drainage works.
Others include the removal of existing pedestrian bridge at Ajao Estate and construction of pedestrian bridges at Ajao Estate and NAHCO/Hajj Camp, construction of slip road to provide access to Ajao Estate, construction of Lay-bys and installation of street lights, among others.
Speaking while flagging off the project, the State’s Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Engr. Adebowale Akinsanya said the commencement of the project was in line with the commitment of the present administration to transform the entire axis, being the major gateway to the country’s commercial nerve centre.
He said the state government took it upon itself to undertake the reconstruction of the road being one of the busiest roads in the State with vehicular volumes averaging 50,000 vehicles daily, and that its poor state was not acceptable for the status of the State as the fifth largest economy in Africa and the nation’s commercial hub.
He said some of the fences along the corridor had been identified to be within the right of way, but that government would minimize the impact of the project on property owners.
Akinsanya said in order to properly carry along people of the area, a stakeholders’ meeting would hold on Thursday to sensitize the people whereby they would have an opportunity to ask the necessary questions.
He said to fast-track the project, three group of workers would work on the project and that they would work day and night, while upon completion, the project would be linked to the Oworonshoki reclamation project, which is also ongoing and is aimed at transforming the corridor to a major entertainment and tourism hub.
The Commissioner, however, urged residents and motorists to cooperate with government while the construction will last, saying that the intention was to transform the area.
“There will be some minor inconveniences but we are going to try to mitigate the impact. The work will be accelerated. The project is to make life easier for everybody. We just want to appeal to people to cooperate with us. We will be here to talk to the people in case of any issue and we are also working with our partner, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN),” he said.
Also speaking, Managing Director of Planet Projects, the firm that designed the project, Mr. Biodun Otunola said prior to the commencement of the construction, adequate feasibility studies were carried out, and that the project, upon completion, would facilitate total transformation of Oshodi and International Airport corridor.
He said in as much as there would not be alternative roads created specifically for the project, adequate measures had been put in place to educate the public on the staging that would be developed, saying that the project would be executed in phases, while motorists would make use of other sections of the road during construction work on a particular section.
Otunola, whose company is also handling the construction of the Oshodi Transport Interchange, said by the time the road project and the interchange were completed, the whole axis would have been transformed to world class standard.
“The desire of the state government under Governor Ambode is to ensure that this whole corridor is turned into an international corridor so that investors and the people can be proud that we have an international gateway that we all can be proud of.
“We are not just building roads, we are thinking of the transportation implication and so there is a bus reform project that is ongoing and every part of Lagos will be connected by bus and that is why this road project will be linked to the Oshodi interchange. So, there will be about 20 lay-bys, bus terminals and so on which are all flowing from the same Master plan for this area,” he said.