By Kingsley Jeremiah
Lagos' residents, particularly those plying Lekki- Epe Expressway may soon witness smooth driving experience as the State Government has begun the removal of some roundabouts in the area.
The move, which was scripted to reduce man-hour losses and diverse effects of traffic gridlock to millions of residents, would also reduce estimated $1 billion yearly loss to traffic in the state.
Speaking after opening of the modified Jakande junction on Tuesday, Acting Commissioner for transportation, Anofi Elegushi, said travel time at the axis would reduce if the project is finally completed by January 2017.
He said the administration is determined to reduce the stress experienced by motorists and residents on the road.
The Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had said the state's 2016 budget', would promote massive investment in transport and traffic management, physical and social infrastructure development.
The Managing Director of Planet Projects, Biodun Otunola, who is the contractor of the project, said: "The level of congestion has been unimaginable. It takes sometimes about two hours to cross from the first roundtable to Lekki Phase one. We decided to remove the roundabouts because they are a major cause of the problem. What we have done is called junction improvement. This is the solution that has been adopted across the world."
Otunola, whose organisation's report had said at least three of every 10 years spent in Lagos is lost to traffic, said the removal of the roundabout would make movement easy for both motorists and pedestrians.
He said finding a smart solution to improve traffic gridlock in Nigeria remained critical, adding that traffic congestion create a loss of about $1 billion to the economy of the state.
Otunola stressed the need why government must patronise indigenous construction companies, saying that it is one of the best ways to empower Nigerians.
Elegushi said the third, fourth and eighth roundabouts would also be reconstructed to ease traffic congestion in the area.
The replacement would also see the installation of traffic lights, expansion of the roads and provision of dedicated turning lanes as well as additional lay-bys, Elegushi said.
Wastage of time of motorists and passengers, delays, which may result in late arrival for appointments, inability to forecast travel time accurately, fuel wastage and increasing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, wear and tear on vehicles as a result of idling in traffic and frequent acceleration and braking, which lead to more frequent repairs and replacements and other problems are expected to be addressed if the challenge of gridlock is being resolved.
A motorist, Ijeoma Okafor, was optimistic that the removal would address the long wait in traffic at the axis.
But another motorist, Bukola Ajayi, expects a flyover at the roundabouts, saying, "we cannot conclude yet, let's wait and watch if the removal will work effectively."
A motorist, Tunde Adekoya, shares Ajayi's opinion, stating that he could only be sure if the removal signals an end to the plights of road users in the axis, when the project is finally completed.
The planned removal of the three roundabouts on the Lekki-Epe Expressway include the 4th Roundabout (Elegushi); 5th Roundabout (Jakande) and the 8th Roundabout