By David Stephen
Maintenance work commenced today at third mainland bridge, as directed by a
top government official. It is expected to be complete in November, and will see
eight expansion joints replaced on both sides of the carriageways of the bridge.
This maintenance work was initially scheduled to commence a week ago, but was
postponed, possibly to put more things in place. This repair is coming at this crucial time
when rain and floods is making motoring difficult.
Concerns of different sorts have been expressed, and press report of floods on
alternative routes supports some. The government has pledged to reduce the traffic
burden during this period with more control officers on duty, attention to suggested
alternative routes and improved traffic monitoring reports to the public. This gives some
confidence but complications will definitely come at certain times during the four months
Some people have presented arguments about the timing, they could be correct, but
maintenance at this time, as said, is coming for the necessity. Traffic in Lagos has
been a problem, with construction somewhere or not. Government continues to work to
ensure that people enjoy free flowing traffic.
The Lagos government has LASTMA – Lagos State Traffic Management Authority.
They also have traffic lights, recently built roads, a traffic FM, and benefitted from
removal of traffic-causing-police-road blocks that the IGP prohibited nationally weeks
back. Traffic on Apapa-Oshodi expressway, a perfect example of the problem, was
tackled in May. Faulty road users there were dealt with, and things improved. The
achievement of that gives so much hope for another in future, albeit significant traffic is
returning to that route.
Traffic is one big issue in the state, and it robs government credits for development.
Traffic stiffens engagements, troubles businesses, aids crime, reduces the quality of air,
contributes to climate change, plugs road safety, adds to health risks, causes fatigue
and makes time management more difficult. We all know that traffic solution is not
mentioned during political campaigns, but the problem leaves the government in a bad
light outside, even as people within ‘are used to it’. Traffic requires all round solution,
with new ones and improvements to those in use.
Traffic reports through radio and social media are part solutions that should be further
advertised and improved. These platforms enable people to get updates on traffic for
routes that connect locations. They could help people before setting-out, they could also
help people to change their plans or to change their planned form of transportation.
These platforms inform, and could also tell of why traffic is happening at a particular
place and time, to quicken attention and action. Good, but they don’t address solutions
and may not favour at times if something happens on a recommended free flowing route
–- usual in the unpredictable situation -- and quick response stalls. Rapid response,
proper oversight, regulation and compliance to road directives are best played by
These folks work hard and deserve credit for some improvements that have been seen
in the past years in traffic. They, as public officers are included in government ranking
of staffers, and face some challenges that many rail about for those in ministry. These
guys have their issues, with news stories on disparaging acts of some. Some of them
also have issues of being unskilled, for duties; there are issues of keeping up in this low
per capita GDP economy and more. Things are not so easy, with a global recession and
oil prices dipping, for an economy reliant on oil trade & several issues to table.
Attending to LASTMA better is desired, as some officials rumble for a better status,
but may not be so easy. Improved status by the Lagos government to LASTMA is help
for all. It is help to themselves, to the federal government, to the people, to LASTMA
officials, to investors, to security, to the present and the future.
Having this is beyond donations, or symposiums for a few, or tough talk by top
bureaucrats, or comments or abuses (as some believe); but improved welfare,
structured training, more equipment, more officials, and complete overhaul of that
system. Training them on common situations, improving reporting bottom up within the
system and more is necessary if the government really wants to help all.
Prioritizing repairs of alternative routes, putting more traffic lights at points, rapid
attention to bottlenecks either road repairs or blockades, developing suggestion
channels that road users can submit what they think will help per route, road use
instructions, more traffic technologies and seriousness will also reduce traffic in the
The center however remains LASTMA, with more officials, they can be spilled to
alternative routes and also be available within meters on pikes during heavy traffic
hours, to prevent/reduce new traffic origins within a large traffic. More officials can also
monitor from within, situations and ensure that response, reports and updates on action
are in sync.
More officials will ensure that work shifts are flexible, boosting commitment to duties
while at work; more officials will also ensure that they are all available for regular
trainings on what-to-do, how-to-do, when-to-say-what, who-to-call, when-to-ignore,
when-to-arrest and what-to-observe.
New attention to the situation can be started with a small forum, where presentations
will be made, and issues will be submitted. This will involve a number of people and the
press. Action will follow after to further understand some things before the next meeting.
Things that can be fixed will be fixed, before a major conference on traffic and complete
Repairs to third mainland bridge will bring attention to traffic around concerned
areas, but traffic will continue as usual at other routes. Government, corporates, high
commissions, those that love Nigeria, and individuals should please start something that
can lessen this multidimensional torture.