As Ogun Moves To Preserve Abeokuta-Sagamu Road
By Funmi Branco
WHEN in January 2022 President Muhammadu Buhari visited Ogun State to commission projects, he could not help exulting in the sheer beauty of the roads constructed by the Dapo-Abiodun led government in Ogun State.
He said: “I arrived early today and commission the 14-Km Ijebu-Ode, Mojoda Epe road which is reconstructed to a modern expressway by your administration.
“This impressive road will complement the Shagamu Benin expressway that the FG is presently reconstructing which is also due commissioning this year.
“Just across the road is the 42-km Shagamu Interchange Abeokuta road which the state government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights and other modern furniture which I will commission shortly.
“I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of the road projects.”
The president was not being facetious; he was being very real.
What he called the “constructive engagement co-operation and collaboration between the state and Federal Government” was evident for all to see.
Travelling on the 42-km Abeokuta-Sagamu road had a delightful feel.
Electric poles dotted the road, with clear lighting making driving at night such a beauty.
The road was adjudged the best in the country given the modern furniture.
The fact is well known that the Abeokuta- Sagamu Interchange road, the ceremonial route to the Gateway state capital, Ibara, Kuto, MKO Abiola Stadium, Oke Mosan, Laderin, Kobape, Siun to Sagamu interchange, links the Lagos Sagamu expressway to Lagos and the South-East.
With the replacement of new asphalt overlay of both binder and wearing course, the replacement of cleared road shoulders and median with layby, reconstruction of existing earth drains with adequate turnout where necessary, and provision of new street lights for illumination at nights for safety and security purposes, the road was such a soul-lifting sight. Industries and housing estates sprang up and blossomed very quickly.
They are now deeply entrenched in the Ogun ecology.
Driving on the road, now in September 2023, is still a great experience, but beyond the beauty lies a huge cost to Ogun State in financial terms.
Knowing the strategic importance of the road, the Ogun State government, this week, took a great step to arrest an unsavoury development, reiterating its commitment to ensuring that it remains in good condition for motorists and other road users.
It announced a plan to collaborate with truck owners and other stakeholders on the road.
Lamenting the continuous deterioration of the road due to the pressure daily put on it by the obvious increase in the number of heavy duty trucks servicing the large number of quarries and housing estates in the area, the state government, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, said it would continue to seek ways to continue maintaining the road in spite of the huge financial implications to the state government.
Here’s why : there are currently about 40 quarries in Abeokuta, the state capital, while another 20 operate along the road.
The weight of the trucks bearing the granite, cement, stone base, laterite and other materials, with some of them often overloaded, continues to cause immense damage to the road, making the government to rehabilitate it at huge costs.
That is not all: further pressure is exerted on the road by trucks and other heavy-duty machinery deployed by estate developers in the area.
Said Akinsanya: “We all can attest to the growing numbers of housing estates and other companies on that axis of the state…Everyday, you also hear of accidents that leave street lights damaged by overspeading drivers.
“This, coupled with the incessant vandalism of street lights and other infrastructure on the road by hoodlums, makes constant rehabilitation a must.”
If motorists take advantage of the smoothness of the road and engage in speeding, that can only lead to accidents.
It is a fact that most of the vehicular accidents witnessed on the road affect the road furniture.
This gives room to vandals to cut the cables and cart away iron.
The government is then forced to move in and replace them.
While security agents have the mandate to enforce traffic rules, the government has to do much more, which is why it now wants a collaboration with the truck owners implicated in the constant damage to the road.
They will be required to pay mere stipends when the trucks use the road, with the proceeds used to augment the government’s financial investment in the maintenance of the road.
As our elders say, if soup is delicious, money has played its part in the story.
The Abeokuta-Sagamu road has transformed the Ogun environment, but great care must be taken to ensure that motorists from Ibadan and other parts of the country plying that road continue to escape the hassles that defined travelling to Ogun State till the Dapo Abiodun administration came on board and spawned a new reality.
A road of such strategic importance, equipped with state-of-the-art furniture, can only take so much damage.
With a network of industries attracted by the road, with developers and estate owners within that corridor doing brisk business, the road will need to be in prime, unblemished condition.
If those whose trucks and big lorries leave the road in an unpleasant state are being asked to be part of the conversation on its maintenance, which the Ogun State government has hitherto ensured in order to deliver a pleasant driving experience for the road users, even at night, it is the right thing to do.
The truck owners service the construction companies within Sagamu-Ibadan corridor, and within the Sagamu-Ore corridor.
The road is overused and this means that the government must continually spend money on it, a responsibility it has undertaken so far without fail.
But its resources are not infinite, and the new initiative targeted at sustainable maintenance of the road deserves to be applauded by all.
*Branco sent this piece through email@example.com*