When the Lagos State government in December 2017 moved bulldozers and other heavy-duty construction equipment into the heartlands of Agege, a densely populated suburb of Lagos, to pull down structures earlier marked for demolition, in readiness for a flyover that would crisscross Oba Ogunji Road/Pen Cinema area over a railroad crossing and landing in Agunbiade Street/Oke-Koto area of the community, it was a welcome development resident warmly embraced.
The joy of residents and commuters around the popular Pen Cinema area knew no bounds, as they could see an end in sight to their daily grueling experience of living in or passing through the tangle that the suburb has become.
They took the disruptions the construction caused to their daily life with joyous anticipation, counting down to December 2018 when the project would have been delivered, as promised by the then governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
It was the same way residents of nearby Abule-Egba, on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, were elated over the Jubilee Bridge that had given the area a facelift and scaled up their quality of life.
Seven months passed the delivery mark of the Pen Cinema bridge, the project not only stall since early this year, but the teeming populace of Agege that traverse the area have also had to undergo a daily gridlock of human and vehicular traffic, with no end in sight.
The gridlock, which starts as early as 5:30a.m. each day, especially on weekdays, is further compounded by the debilitating state of most adjoining roads like Iju Road, Abeokuta Motor Road and Capitol Road, many of which are littered with craters and crevices, leading to the stranded commuters frittering productive hours daily in the crawling traffic. It is a common sight for commuters to trek more than three kilometers to navigate the intractable traffic that dots the Agege landscape.
However, there will soon be a respite for motorists plying the Agege-Pen Cinema axis, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured of accelerated completion of the abandoned bridge. The governor spoke on Sunday while inspecting ongoing rehabilitation work on major roads in the Iju area of the state by the Lagos State Public Works Corporation.
Sanwo-Olu, in company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the contractor handling the bridge construction was being prepared for re-mobilisation back on the site. Expressing concern over the pains residents go through due to regular gridlock on the alternative routes occasioned by abandoned project, Sanwo-Olu said his government would compensate for the discomfort by ensuring the timely completion of the bridge.
He said: “I can assure you that we are currently in talks with the contractors handling key road projects in Ikorodu, which are Igbogbo and Ishawo roads, and also a critical project in Agege area, which is the Pen-Cinema Bridge. Our promise is that, if it is not by the end of this month; then, by next month, the contractors will be fully mobilised back on sites to complete the work.
“We are particularly concerned about the pain motorists are going through because of the incomplete construction of the Pen-Cinema Bridge. We are hoping that the contractor handling the bridge construction, too, will be mobilised back on site. Once we push these three critical infrastructures and get them completed, relief would come to residents in these areas.”
The governor said the ongoing repair of about 100 roads across the state was an outcome of his Executive Order, which declared emergency rehabilitation of critical roads. Sanwo-Olu said the repair was being carried out in six segments, pointing out that the highways and arterial carriages were captured in the first set of repair across the state. He said repair work would begin on roads captured in other segments in succession. The governor urged commuters to be patient while the repair is being carried out.