Business owners, commuters and residents who ply or live around the Apapa-Oshodi expressway axis have lamented the negative impact of the ongoing construction on their businesses and health.
The business owners including motorists who ply the road on daily basis decried the worsening traffic situation in the area, this is even as they have alleged that the contractors have no regard for Nigerians that ply the road, owing to the permanent closure of a section of the road for months.
In a chat with our correspondent, a member of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners Association (AMATO); Orebanwo Tobiloba stated that Apapa which is home to the two busiest ports in Nigeria and what could have been a blessing has turned into a nightmare for motorists and residents owing to the inefficiency of the contractors handling the construction.
He noted that efforts by the government to eliminate the gridlock have further caused businesses to suffer, while commuting has remained a herculean task.
He said: “You know how important this road is, this is the road that leads to the two busiest ports in the country, it is something that we should be proud of but it’s looking like a nightmare for truck drivers, business owners and commuters.
“This ought not to be so, if the contractors really know what they are doing, of course the government is doing its best by ensuring that the road is fixed and put in proper shape, it has however created what I would call a temporary monster that has caused businesses to suffer, while commuting has remained more like a herculean task.
“If you look at it apart from losses in man-hour on traffic, it is telling on the health of the motorists and residents of the area. Like I said it’s a temporary monster but the contractors can do more in ameliorating the suffering of the people ”, he said.
Similarly, a businessman, Mr Rufus Anukem, decried the plight Nigerians who ply the road on daily basis have been subjected to by the construction company, saying the contractor has no regard for Nigerians that ply the road.
According to him, “the government is not supervising the construction at all. This is not the only place where they construct roads. How can you close the main lane from Berger to Cele on one side, if you are going to Cele now, one of the lanes is permanently closed, you will not see any work going on there while they force motorists going and coming to use one lane
“We are calling on the government to call the contractor to order. We are talking about the only road that leads to the country’s busiest ports, the gateway to the Nigerian economy”.
Also, a truck driver who identified himself as Rasaq said, “when I think of what I go through on the route, I feel like leaving the job but there is no job elsewhere and my family must survive. We go through hell passing through this place every day aside from the suffering in traffic, we still suffer in the hands of touts, security men and even fellow drivers, but we don’t have an option.
“I don’t want to talk about the money we waste on diesel which has become very expensive these days or the money we pay to touts who would waste no time in damaging the truck mirror or inflicting injuries on the drivers and motor boys. We hope that one day, all these will end” he said.
Meanwhile, traffic congestion is also set to return to the Apapa-Ijora road following the announcement of the Federal Government to shut down the Marine Bridge for repair and maintenance works.
Officials said the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing closed the bridge at about 11 am the penultimate Saturday. The bridge will remain closed for three months.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that the bridge has been closed more than seven times since 2016 for extended periods ranging from three months to six months. It was closed for six months in 2016, four months in 2017, six months in 2018, five months in 2020 and three months in 2021, three months in 2022. This year, the bridge will also be partially closed for three months.