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10.03.2021 news Apapa Gridlock Yet to Disappear — but Truck Drivers Not the Reason

Published 10th Mar, 2021

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

The regular gridlock at Mile 2/Apapa expressway is yet to totally disappear despite government’s efforts to ease the traffic for commuters on that axis, FIJ can report.

The Apapa gridlock is usually attributed to the difficulties that containerized vehicles, often called trucks, experience when trying to access the Apapa seaports from various routes such as Oshodi/Mile 2, Alakija and Ijora within the Lagos mainland.

In a bid to fulfil his campaign promises, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, partnered with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders in the maritime sector to design electronic call-up system, an initiative to improve traffic by getting the trucks off the Apapa axis.

While monitoring the progress on Wednesday, FIJ observed some lapses along the Mile 2 expressway. From Alakija to Mile 2, the traffic was partly flowing for cars plying the road but another side of the road was occupied by parked trucks.

Trucks parked at along Alakija/ Mile 2 expressway

At 10 am, Mile 2 to Sunrise/Coconut axis ahead of Tincan Island Port was also blocked. For nearly two hours that our reporter spent on the road, it was observed that a tiny space was created between fuel tankers on the four-lane road for motorcyclists to ply.

Tankers blocking Mile 2/Apapa expressway

Although the state government had declared a ban on motorcycles on Lagos highways since January 2020, these motorcyclists are visibly on the road beckoning at pedestrians.

Kazeem Ayinde, a tanker driver, attributed the gridlock to the ongoing construction by Hi-Tech Construction Company at Sunrise/Coconut axis of the road.

He said: “Some of the tank drivers have been on the same axis since midnight but are yet to reach their depots less than 10 kilometres away.”

According to him, they are now experiencing gradual improvement in the vehicular movement but “the government’s effort will only be successful after the ongoing construction is completed”.

Ismaila Alade, another tanker driver, said the construction company periodically regulates movement.

“They block the road during the day to allow tankers loading in the depots to exit and open up for us going in again mostly in the evenings,” he explained.

The road under construction by Hi-tech construction company at Sunrise/Coconut axis

“Unlike before, we are not competing with the trucks again. We are only experiencing traffic congestion now because of the blocked road at Sunrise junction. Once the trucks inside the depots are done loading, they will open for us to move in too.”

While speaking with our reporter, the South African Engineer working with Hi-tech, who simply identified himself as Thuo, maintained that the roads are sometimes blocked to ensure incoming and outgoing drivers don’t hinder their road project.

Bola Ogunlola, the Assistant Director of the Ministry of Transport, promised to examine the cause of the recurring gridlock.

“We are monitoring the traffic as the government’s plan progresses but the current challenge is coming from the construction undertaken by the Hi-tech company,” she said.

“Now that you have drawn my attention to the gridlock at that axis, I will call the company to open the road.”

Published 10th Mar, 2021

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

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