Relief as new expressway reaches Ogbomoso metropolis
After more than twenty years the new four-lane highway between Ilorin and Ibadan traversing Ogbomoso and Oyo is gradually reaching completion.
An on-the-spot visit by ogbomosoinsightonline.com Saturday reveals earthwork on the road has reached well beyond the Farm Settlement Scheme (Agric)/Owolaake, axis passing Arinkinkin axis and knocking at The Apostolic Church Grammar School area at Ajegunle. This is as bush clearing along the route has reached the The Federal Housing Estate (Low Cost) near Adeniran Memorial Grammar School. All these communities are in the southern end of Ogbomoso metropolis.
Recall the construction began in 2001 during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, divided into sections – Ilorin/Ogbomoso, Ogbomoso/Oyo and Oyo-Ibadan.
But while the two extreme sections were completed over twelve years ago and opened for use the middle section i.e. Ogbomoso-Oyo section suffered delay owing to non-release of funds to the contractors by successive federal government’s administrations.
However, the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which had Mr. Raji Fasola as Minister for Works made the last push by voting funds for the completion of the road.
The last stretch of the very important road connecting the north to south is now well into Ogbomoso from Oyo city, Ogbomoso Insight can confirm though that is as far as the earthwork is concerned, and for the asphalt laying, it is trailing closely behind.
It is learnt the initial target of the contractor, Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), was December this year but the new administration of President Bola Tinubu has not allowed more funds to be released, “which,” according to a source, “is slowing down work again. The target was December but there have been a little problem, under the new Minister for Works (Dave Umahi), funds are not being released and this is a major setback.”
Continuing, the source said, “The consequence is that workers are being reduced. Where we had groups of eight they are being reduced to 4. That is why work has become slower.”
However, it is discovered all bridges, underpasses and flyovers are complete. “The last one which is the Idi-Oro underpass was completed over two months ago. That of Adeniran is being delayed because of the new road coming from Iseyin, which intersects the Ilorin expressway at Adeniran area. It is yet to be decided what to be done there, but presently the Federal Ministry of Works and the Oyo State Ministry of Works are considering what to do.
“Their own (the one from Iseyin) did not run straight into ours. But they may likely divert their own a little bit. The underpass at Olomi is also complete what remains is to make it thorough. That of the Federal Government College intersection is flyover which had also been constructed.”
When inquired, the source enthused that road users can now access the express road from Agric/Owolaake “but we don’t want trailers to start plying it for now so that is why we blocked it.”
In the meantime, the prospect of the Ogbomoso-Oyo section of the expressway being completed soon is a major relief to road users because the road which is two lanes is a deathtrap, whose “demons” suck blood regularly aside the constant irritating and unnecessary traffic snarls on it due to congestion in the face of many dilapidated portions.
“That is a relief. For the road to be nearing completion is big news to us,” a commercial driver, Afolabi Adeleke, told ogbomosoinsightonline.com Saturday. “The last few months on the old road have been hellish, with almost daily hold ups due to the ubiquitous bad portions and many trailers plying the road. Many accidents have occurred leading to losses of lives and properties and leaving many severely injured, several maimed. I pray the road will soon open for use.”
Several other people who spoke on the development also expressed joy and greay expectations that “In our lifetime this road is being completed. It is a huge relief. They should please remove all constraints that may cause further delay. Many loved ones have perished on the old road. President Tinubu should please ensure money is released for its completion. It started over twenty two years ago, it is an agony using the old road.”
Meanwhile, on the dilapidated Oyo-Ibadan section it is presently undergoing general repair or about to, as the federal government has awarded the contract for its rehabilitation.