By Lukman Olabiyi
Lagos residents have waved an exciting bye to the age-long vehicular gridlock in and around Agege, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu opened the Pen Cinema Bridge and five roads that are expected to make motoring a better experience.
The commissioning on Friday marked the fulfilment of another campaign promise made by Sanwo-Olu to residents, who daily endured pain in commuting within the axis in the last four years.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, inaugurated the projects, which he described as “needed catalyst” for the resuscitation of economic activities on the axis.
The construction of the 1.4-kilometre long flyover was recommended during the Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti) under ex-Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration, as a strategic intervention to achieving significant traffic improvement in the densely populated area. The Akinwunmi Ambode administration created the right-of-way and set up the structural beams; Sanwo-Olu substantially completed civil works on the bridge.
The imposing overpass ascends from Oba Ogunji Road and drops at Oke Koto, Agege. The bridge also opens to the old Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway through Abule-Egba.
Crowds of excited residents joined Sanwo-Olu and members of the State’s Executive Council at the ceremony. The governor described the delivery of the project as a “landmark progress” in his administration’s drive towards eliminating bottlenecks causing suffocating gridlocks to relieve residents of the stress associated with commuting.
Sanwo-Olu said the two-pronged approach, which his administration deployed in delivering critical infrastructure, gave priority to continuation and completion of strategic projects, regular maintenance and construction of new ones in line with the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP).
He said his administration did not discontinue the project because it was in tune with the first pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, the six-pillar development initiative, which targets the provision of roads for expedited economic growth and seamless mobility.
He said: “I am delighted to stand before Lagosians today to celebrate the delivery of this landmark project which, again, reflects our administration’s belief in the principle of continuity in governance and demonstrates our commitment to the urgency of infrastructure development and the welfare of our people. The completion of this flyover and five network of roads sends a strong message about our determination to accelerate our futuristic vision for a world class transportation system complemented by a good network of roads for social and economic transformation.
“In order to address the challenge of huge traffic burden, the immediate past administration initiated and commenced the construction of a precast and pre-stressed reinforced concrete of 1.4km dual-carriage flyover and ramp, with road works across the Agege-Pen Cinema Intersection. As of May 2019 when this administration was inaugurated, this project was at about 20 per cent progress. With the delivery of this bridge, which is complemented with traffic signalisation and drainage channels, we have resolved the perennial traffic arising from huge human and vehicular movement from Agege-Pen Cinema Intersection towards Abule-Egba, Fagba, Oke Koto and Iyana Ipaja.”
To achieve quick turnaround in commuting on the bridge, Sanwo-Olu said his administration identified and reconstructed five strategic arterial roads with good connectivity to adjoining roads that could serve as alternative bypasses to other routes when traffic is heavy. Sanwo-Olu promised that his administration would not relent in the provision of infrastructure for coordinated and sustainable development that would help to improve the State’s performance on the Ease of Doing Business index.
APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu expressed confidence in Sanwo-Olu’s leadership, noting that the Governor had returned Lagos to stability after the economic turbulence occasioned by COVID-19 and coordinated destruction of the State’s assets.
He described Sanwo-Olu as “a brilliant captain” who has shown excellent result.