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Repair Onitsha-Enugu Highway

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Enugu-Onitsha Expressway

THE Onitsha-Enugu Expressway is in a very bad state of repair. Under good conditions, a journey from Onitsha to Enugu by car may take less than an hour. Now it takes much longer, if the vehicle does not need to be pushed out of some bad spots on the way at times, especially during the rainy season.

THE Onitsha-Enugu Expressway is in a very bad state of repair. Under good conditions, a journey from Onitsha to Enugu by car may take less than an hour. Now it takes much longer, if the vehicle does not need to be pushed out of some bad spots on the way at times, especially during the rainy season.

The Onitsha-Enugu expressway was constructed around the 1980s. Since then it has been in use. But for many years now, it has been in a bad state of repair. It is full of potholes. Travelling along the road is not only uncomfortable; it takes a long time to reach the destination.

When the road was constructed newly, travelling along it saved time as it was a bypass from many of the crowded places along the way. It is also a link to many important places. Onitsha and its surrounding towns is a highly populated area. En-route is Awka, the capital city of Anambra State. Awka is also surrounded by important towns like Amawbia, Abagana etc. Similarly, Enugu is the capital city of Enugu State of Nigeria.

This area is a place of long established and deep rooted culture and many arts and cultural materials are produced here. It is also a place of agricultural productivity. Onitsha has a market that is second to none in all of West Africa. It is also surrounded by many agricultural places.

The Onitsha-Enugu expressway is not the only one of its kind in need of repair. Many others share the same experience and as well link very important places. Nigeria needs to develop a maintenance culture. The roads in particular need to be maintained because everyone knows they will break down not long after construction. The government at all levels is doing well in constructing new roads. But what is the benefit in abandoning old ones into a state of non-use? Roads should also be constructed with reliable materials that will stand the test of time. Good construction methods should also be employed and reliable companies should undertake the construction. Contracts should be awarded for repair and maintenance of road over a stated period of time.

Maintenance of roads should be given the attention it deserves. In the annual budget, the share of the transport sector should be earmarked. As well, this sector should be closely supervised so that the money would be used for its intended purpose and not diverted into private pockets.

The Onitsha-Enugu expressway is threatened by being severed into sections where the road is cut off. When this happens, a person who has not used it for some time would be stranded when plying it again. This can also make it easy for hoodlums to waylay unsuspecting road users. Much time and resources are also wasted in trying to negotiate alternative routes and those han-dling emergency situations will find it difficult to meet their ends.

Concern over the unsightly condition of the Onitsha-Enugu expressway has been voiced by many quarters. As well, reconstruction efforts have been in evidence along the road over the years, all to no avail. Definite efforts need to be extended to make the road motorable once again. When a road is in a good motorable condition, it attracts settlement. These people now are being forced to relocate so that they can make a living. This means abandoning an established business and finding a new one and this is not always easy.

Things will get worse on the expressway as the rainy season approaches. Ponds collect on portions of the road rendering it unusable. A bad road also makes it expensive for passengers as motorists will charge more to commute passengers and goods thereby affecting the living and eco-nomic standards of the people. Big lorries and trucks that move heavy goods are already finding it difficult to go along the expressway.

State Governments sometimes repair sections of federal roads and present the cost to the Federal Government for reimbursement.. Therefore, with the approval of the Federal Govern-ment, the Anambra State Government and the Enugu State Government can reconstruct the worst affected areas of the road within their States. The contract should be awarded to reliable construc-tion companies that can deliver the project according to schedule.

There is no gain saying it that the reconstruction of the Onitsha-Enugu highway will bring economic benefits. The road is a very busy one, being used to move people and commodities to their destinations.

Under its present bad state of repair, motorists often move on only one side of the dual carriage way. They do so in order to avoid impassable sections of the road. It is therefore clear that the intended purpose of the road as a dual carriage way is defeated. Since this has been the case for many years, it is obvious that much is being lost economically.

A bad road adds to the wear and tear of vehicles making use of the road. These days, only fairly used vehicles are mostly seen on the roads because of bad economic condition. New ones have gone beyond the reach of the citizenry. Adding to the wear and tear of vehicles because of bad road condition only makes matters worse.

 


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