APAPA-OSHODI EXPRESSWAY: Revenue Hub, Agony Corridors By Chuks Nwanne

The importance of the Apapa-Mile2-Oshodi Expressway to Lagos State does not require emphasis. The stretch, which connects the nation’s major seaport in Apapa and the ever-busy Murtala Muhammed International Airport, is crucial to the country’s economy. For years, the road has been in a terrible shape, causing vehicular traffic and fatal automobile accidents.
Gridlock occasioned by huge vehicular traffic, lawlessness by truck drivers, tank farm owners and sundry cases of indiscipline have combined to make doing business in the Apapa area a nightmare. Road users have become vulnerable to all manner of dangers. Indeed, the road is now a haven of criminals, who exploit the gridlock to break into vehicles and steal valuables.

From the two ports, Apapa Ports and Tin Can Island Port, alone, the Nigeria Customs Service is said to generate billions of naira into the coffers of the Federal Government. This is aside from revenue that the state and council governments generate as taxes from companies and industries operating in Apapa. But sadly, the road leading to the area has remained impassable, because of persistent gridlock. Goods incur heavy demurrage at the ports, as movement in good time from the area is often impeded. Every day, motorists and commuters spend several hours on the road in a bid to get to Apapa.
Around Orile-Badagry Expressway, the story is the same: heavy gridlock. And with the Mile2-Apapa Expressway constantly at a standstill, the Costain-Ijora axis has become an alternative.

Aside from its failed sections, reckless drivers of heavy-duty trucks conveying containers from the wharf have worsened the road’s condition. Most hit by the ugly experience are commuters, who waste precious man-hours coming from the Festac Town, Badagry Expressway and adjoining areas on the road. Today, anyone conversant with the route would agree that the road has been improved upon greatly, especially from Apapa axis up to Cele Bus Stop. Thanks to the Federal Government intervention.

Besides, the construction firm, which handled the rehabilitation, did a good job, especially, with the provision of drainage system and walkways. As a result, motorists can easily link Festac Town and the Amuwo Odofin axis, through Ijesha Bus Stop, First Rainbow and Second Rainbow Bus Stops. It is not yet hurray, however, as heavy traffic has returned to the road. If not for the urgent intervention of the Lagos State government, tanker drivers, who park indiscriminately, would have turned the road into a lawless zone.

From the Apapa axis to Mile2, and sometimes to Ijesha Bus Stop, these reckless species used to occupy the entire service lane, sometimes encroaching into the expressway and causing heavy vehicular traffic on a daily basis.
As a result of the traffic situation, especially on a rainy day, commercial bus drivers, otherwise known as danfo, usually run one-way to Mile2, from Cele Bus Stop. They pick passengers around Conoil filling station at Cele, and then connect the other side of the expressway, using the newly constructed Cele flyover, from where they head, against the flow of traffic to Mile2. Most times, this happens under the watch of men of the Nigerian Police and LASTMA officials.

Meanwhile, work has stopped on the Cele axis of the expressway, with contractors no longer on site. So, from Cele Bus Stop to Iyana-Itire, Ilasamaja, up till Iyana-Isolo Bus Stop (on both sides of the expressway), it’s still a sad tale of potholes. Particularly, Iyana-Itire Bus Stop to Ilasamaja Bus Stop is in terrible shape at the moment; both the service lane and the expressway have gone from bad to worst.

Some weeks ago, FERMA official were seen on site filling the holes with asphalt, thereby making the road motorable for few days. But within few days of rain, the situation has gone too bad. Right now, the situation has led to heavy traffic on Ijesha Road, as commuters now use the inner road as alternative route.

Further down on that road, towards Champion Newspapers, are towing van operators, who have carved a portion of the service lane for themselves; Ilasa traders also display their wares on that lane.
Gradually, Iyana-Isolo Bus Stop, inwards Mushin, has caved in; the potholes are expanding everyday. With trailers now using part of the road as parking lot, it won’t be long before that section of the service lane would finally break down.
The Ladipo spare parts market has become a nuisance on Toyota Bus Stop, regularly causing gridlock into Airport Road. As the market has grown over the years, so did some obvious negative consequences that have managed to turn it into a menace to other road users.

From the introduction of two warehouses on this corridor, the entire service lane has turned to an extension of the market, with containers offloading on a daily basis, causing pains to road users. Trading activities have spilled over, constricting Ladipo Road as well as the service lane, on one side of which containers of used automobile parts are offloaded six days a week to stock the warehouses. Of course, the result is that traffic along Ladipo Road and Toyota Service Lane is regularly clogged.

Just recently, traffic started building up on the other side of the expressway, towards Mile 2; it is a new trend. Obviously, the tankers have taken over the service lane on that side, sometimes stretching back to Airport Road, thereby restricting traffic from that section of the road to the major highway, which is also in bad shape. Sometimes, the traffic stretches up to Oshodi, causing heavy gridlock around Anthony Village axis.


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