There has been considerable interest in Lagos roads in recent times. A number of media houses have focused on the challenges posed by the state of the roads to the commuting public. While we do not seek to join issues with anyone, believing that the interest and focus being served by the publications is to draw government’s attention to the plight of the citizens, we must assure all that government is fully aware of the state of the roads and is poised to address them soon.
As a matter of fact, some of the roads mentioned are already under contract and work is being affected by the onset of the rains during which only limited meaningful construction can be undertaken. It is also a fact that Lagos rainy days in the last two years have increased giving only about 5 months of the year for road construction activity. Thus contractors may not be on site working at full pace. Apart from this, it is necessary to state that early stages of construction work are done off-site as pre-cast elements except for excavation of drains.
Flooded roads are a direct consequence of both the nature of the state’s topography (being 2 metres below sea level on the average) and citizens’ habits. Achieving a flood-free environment with such a topography is a herculean task. This is further made difficult with the bad habit of some residents who turn the provided drainage channels into refuse dumps. Despite the fact that flooding is common during heavy rainfall, the responsibility of government is to ensure that the drainages are desilted. This is already being done on a massive scale to avoid and prevent the frequent flash flood.
In a state like Lagos, the quality or durability of the roads is directly related to the quality and effectiveness of the drainage system that supports them.
By statistics, Lagos today has over 9000 paved roads and this is growing gradually even as communities spring up everywhere in the state. All the roads in the state deserve government’s attention irrespective of the ownership status. Hence the State Government attends to all roads regardless of whether they are Federal or State roads. Currently the works done on Federal roads in the past stand in excess of N51 billion.
Road development is perceived, by this Administration, as a strategic economic activity that creates job and promotes socio-economic benefits through better travel times. Consequently, the concerted effort to transform the roads in Lagos State shall be sustained.
The quantity and quality of the State’s road stock is daily improving. 500 roads had been added to that stock in the last 4 years and another 220 roads are currently ongoing. It is therefore obvious that this tempo will be sustained by the current administration. This indication has been given with the public announcement on the commencement of rehabilitation works by our sister Agency, the Public Works Corporation on 90 roads across the State. This programme shall be sustained.
While we cannot do a one on one response, it is necessary to note that the State government is citizen-centered. Their interest will clearly be the pivot for driving road development.
Again where roads are phased, given the length of the road and the cost outlay, they can hardly be described as abandoned or as an example of slow pace of work. Each of our projects has a project plan that gives indication of timelines. Supervision is also an essential part of the State government’s process on delivering projects. All contractors demonstrate capacity and competence before contracts are awarded. Where such contractor fails, it is terminated and the project re-awarded after due process. For the avoidance of doubt, there are clearly established thresholds for making payments to contractor.
Government is clearly aware of the challenges being faced by the citizens and is indeed committed to alleviating them. Some of the roads identified have either been awarded or are in the process of being awarded. The Ago Palace Road in Okota is an example of a subsisting contract while extensive palliative work is to commence on Isolo-Ikotun road.
Lagos State, under the administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode will continue to provide high quality roads and complete all projects already being pursued.
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