Transportation and property are important in physical and economic development of towns and cities all over the world. Property and land values tend to increase in areas with expanding transportation networks, and increase less rapidly in areas without such improvements. Rapid and continued rise in housing and land prices are expected in cities with transportation improvements and rapid economic and population growth (Goldberg, 1970).
The Lagos-Ibadan expressway road remains a key infrastructure project of the Federal Government, in achieving wider socio-economic impact on the nation. Thereby, boosting inter-state activities, encouraging trade, easing transportation and providing a solid linkage between Lagos: “Nigeria’s economic capital” and the rest of the nation.
According to a Special report of Proshare WebTV in 2013, focusing on the “Lagos-Ibadan Expressway”. The report revealed that the expressway was constructed in 1978, designed as a pivot to enhance growth within the western region to other parts of the country.
In specifics, the expressway serves 500,000 commuters daily making the Lagos – Ibadan route one of the major commercial roads in Nigeria.
In terms of initiating and executing the project solely hinges on the Federal government. Therefore the prerogative of re-designing, re-construction, rehabilitation, expansion, and operational mode on completion largely hangs on the broad shoulders of the federal government.
The rate at which trailers breakdown on the expressway has worsened the situation. Apart from this, the traffic gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan expressways during the weekends and festive seasons, has been a growing concern to the health and safety of Nigerians, who ply the route or live around there.
The growing clamor for both the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the expressway can be traced back to the inception of the fourth republic under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. However, the project neither materialized or saw the light of the day.
Even attempts by the Federal Government to concession the road was thwarted and stalled by series of several court cases.
Respite, came to motorists and other road users on July 2013 when former President Goodluck Jonathan flagged off the reconstruction of the Lagos- Ibadan expressway. The contract was awarded jointly to both Julius Berger Nigeria Limited and Reynolds Construction Company Limited at the sum of N167 billion. The project comprised of two sections, but the inability to release money to contractors has stalled the project.
The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari reinvigorated the project by re-mobilizing the contractors back to site in June 2016.
Recently, the Federal Executive Council approve additional N80bn for the rehabilitation of Section II of Lagos – Ibadan Expressway from Sagamu to Ibadan.
Therefore what will be the social impact of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Lagos-Ibadan expressway project on Nigerians;
Reduced traffic congestion
Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is characterized by massive traffic gridlock. Certainly, rehabilitating the Lagos- Ibadan expressway will reduce traffic and enhance productivity.
Enhancing Trade in Nigeria
The rehabilitation and expansion of the road project ensure mobility of goods and services, thereby enhancing trade across the nation.
Increased Socio-economic activities
The ongoing rehabilitation will trigger economic agglomeration, which will be felt by communities along the route. Thus communities such as Sagamu, Mowe, Arepo, Ibafo and Ikorodu will experience a beefing in their socio economic activities. Moreover it is expected that members of such communities will form part of the core of the indirect jobs created emanating from such project.
Certainly, infrastructure across the globe has been a pre-condition for robust economic growth. The Lagos-Ibadan expressway will further enhance production possibilities.
Holistically, the political will that will ensure the effective execution and rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has been lacking. Such political will require both sincerity and transparency from the Federal Government. The commitment and dedication by the contractors is desperately needed to avoid hiccups.