By Gboyega Akinsanmi
One week after he formally inaugurated the reconstruction of 10-lane Oshodi-Airport road, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, at the weekend unveiled Pen Cinema flyover and bridge ramp designed to unlock gridlock at the Agege-Iju-Pen-Cinema axis.
He therefore, disclosed that the two projects would be completed by December 2018, though appealed to all residents and motorists to exercise patience all through the period of construction.
He unveiled the projects at a meeting with all the stakeholders he addressed at the LASU Museum, Agege on Friday, noting that when completed, the flyover would be equivalent to both the Ajah and Abule-Egba bridges.
The governor had last Monday inaugurated the reconstruction of the Oshodi-Airport Road with a pledge to begin project execution in September 2017 and complete the project within the next 15 months.
Contrary to what the federal government had designed decades ago, the state government had disclosed that its design for the road accommodated two flyovers, three pedestrian bridges one U-turn bridge ramp and interlocking paving stones walkway among others.
Covering a distance of 5.7064 kilometres, Ambode had had explained the new design for the Oshodi-Airport road, which he said, was much better than what the federal government designed for the road, disclosing that the road â€œhas two service lanes, 20 laybys and slip roads into Ajao Estate among others.â€
But at the unveiling of the Pen Cinema flyover and ramped bridge, Ambode explained the essence of the meeting, which he said, was toÂ engage all stakeholders on the need to construct a flyover across the intersections of Iju Road and Old Abeokuta Road with Oba Ogunji-Agunbiade Street respectively.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya, said the need for the flyover and ramped bridge could not be over-emphasised in view of its strategic link to several communities.
He said: â€œIn ensuring that this project measures up to world class standard, the reconstruction has been given to a tested and proven contractor â€“ Hitech Construction Company Limited, the construction company that is prepared to work round the clock in two shifts to ensure the timely completion of the project.
â€œIn order to minimise the inconvenience to road users that ply this route during the construction stage of the flyover, alternative routes for traffic diversion were identified after a thorough reconnaissance survey with a view to serve as by-pass from the construction zone as well as ensure seamless flow of traffic while the construction activities are ongoing within this corridor.â€
He explained that the diversion â€œwill no doubt assist Iju, Oba Ogunji Roads and beyond bound motorists without going through traffic rigour. The need to collectively resolve the perennial gridlock at Agege, Pen-Cinema and Iju among others is a task that must be done by all.â€
Ambode said the meeting was in line with the inclusive governance mantra of his administration to run an open, robust and all inclusive government where citizens would not only have a voice but also determine the direction and scope of developmental projects in the State.
Also at the meeting, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Jimi Hotonu said theÂ length of bridge with the ramp is 1,430m, while the service lane is 2,256m, adding that the construction would also include a pedestrian bridge across railway track, among others.
Hotonu said upon completion of the project, it would reduce traffic grid lock and travel time;Â reduce vehicle maintenance and transportation cost, enhance safety of the road users, improve socio-economic activities of the area, enhance the standard of living of the citizens and provide 24 hours investment friendly environment, with availability of LED street lights.
Speaking on the projects, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, said Pen Cinema was known for its notoriety when it comes to gridlock, saying that motorists normally spend hours on traffic in the area, noting that the projects â€œwill take the stress away from us.â€
Adejare stated that the construction of the flyover and bridge ramp would scale up properties in the area, thereby urging the residents and motorists to cooperate with the construction firm.