The first phase of the 18.75-kilometer Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway’s renovation and upgrade was officially inaugurated yesterday by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also declared the facility open to vehicle traffic.
Sanwo-Olu, supported by applauding locals, officially opened the infrastructure from Eleko to Epe T-Junction, converting a two-lane country road into a hard concrete carriageway with six lanes.
The engineering achievement signaled a substantial advancement in the project to rehabilitate the country road, constructed more than 40 years ago. Due to the increase in daily traffic volumes, the infrastructure was in poor condition before the repair, which caused delays and hardship for road users.
Shortly, after the inauguration, Sanwo-Olu immediately flagged off the second phase of the road project, which will extend the construction from Eleko axis to Abraham Adesanya Roundabout.
The Governor, however, said the project’s second phase would be done in two segments for ease of funding and to reduce the traffic impact of the construction work on commuters.
According to him, the 18.6-kilometer first phase will start at Eleko and travel to Awoyaya and important locations near Majek and Ogidan. The second part, an 11-kilometer drive, will begin at Ogidan and end at the Abraham Adesanya Roundabout.
The governor, said the development, marked another effort by his administration at investing in infrastructure that would impact positively on the socio-economic well-being of the residents.
Sanwo-Olu claimed that before the intervention, the expressway was in a catastrophic state, agonizing motorists and impairing the flow of goods and services.
He said: “Inauguration of this road project we are opening today is coming after 40 years, the infrastructure was originally constructed as a rural cross-section without drain. Our administration flagged off the reconstruction and upgrading of the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway from the existing two-lane to a three-lane dual carriageway with a reinforced concrete pavement and with a lane in each direction dedicated for trucks to accommodate the envisaged axle loads.
“This event does not only mark the opening of Phase 1 of the project, we are also flagging off the commencement of the Phase 2 of the work. The entire project will set the Lekki-Epe corridor on the path of socio-economic prosperity and progress. This corridor is fast emerging as an urban economic hub.
“The growth must come with infrastructure investment that will support the development. The infrastructure will not only bring relief to residents plying the road, it will also ease the transportation of goods, while encouraging industrial development in the Lekki Free Zone.”
To continue serving them, Sanwo-Olu urged locals to take responsibility for the infrastructure and guard its facilities against vandalism.
He extended gratitude to the people of Ibeju Lekki and the Community Development Associations (CDAs) for their unwavering assistance and cooperation during the first stretch’s construction.
The Governor also used the opportunity to appeal to motorists on the axis to be patient, given the perennial traffic being experienced along the Lekki-Epe Expressway caused by the ongoing construction of the project’s Phase 2 and the work on Regional Road.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, said the Eti Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway was long overdue for upgrading, given its deplorable condition that increased the journey from 35 minutes to over four hours.
She claimed that the increased activity at the recently opened Deep Sea Port in Lekki, the Dangote Refinery, and other international corporate locations near the Lekki Free Trade Zone corridor added to the suffering of commuters.
Adeyoye said repairs hitherto carried out on the carriageway only delivered short-term and could no longer be sustainable, justifying the need for permanent solution to address drainages, outfalls, and weariness.
She said: “The reconstruction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway is, no doubt, a laudable project that will impact positively, the lives of residents, eliminate traffic gridlocks, drastically reduce the travel time of commuters, and businesses as well as improve the socio-economic activities around the axis. I, therefore, implore us all as stakeholders to take ownership of it and be wary of vandals by carefully guarding it, so it can continue to serve us as long as we so desire.”
Abdullah Olowa, the chairman of the Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area, praised Sanwo-Olu for responding to requests for the road’s enlargement and rehabilitation and claimed that the first phase of the infrastructure has begun to change the people’ harrowing tale. The head of the council claimed that the project will further solidify the enduring ties between the inhabitants of Ibeju Lekki and the Epe.