On Friday, August 26, 2016, the Anambra State Government commissioned the three flyovers located in the Awka capital city. The flyovers are at Aroma Junction, Kwata Junction and Amawbia Junction – all along the Enugu/Onitsha Express Road. They were commissioned as part of activities marking the Silver Jubilee of the creation of Anambra State.
There is no doubt that the construction of these flyovers have changed the landscape of the capital city drastically. They have certainly given the town the status of a capital city.
The projects which were begun in the early months of the present administration, were aimed at ameliorating the traffic problems in that part of the capital city.
We wish to commend Gov Willie Obiano for beginning and completing these gigantic projects and in commendable time too.
Some people have questioned the propriety of three flyovers so near to each other. Yet others have criticised the architectural design, pointing out that they amount to so much waste of cement which has taken up a sizeable chunk of the road. There are also others who believe that the flyover at Aroma Junction was badly designed; hence its failure to address the traffic problems in that axis.
While we agree with all these submissions, we will also like to point out that continuing to criticise them is tantamount to crying over spilt milk. The projects have been executed and it is very unlikely that they will be pulled down just to address some mistakes.
We believe that now the projects have been put in place, the issue will be how to maintain them and ensure that their life span is exhausted.
One of the ways to ensure this is to regularly check and maintain them. Another is to prevent articulated or heavy duty vehicles from plying them. These vehicles have been known to cause irreparable damage to roads across the country.
This is why in some states, some roads are designed in such a way that such heavy duty vehicles cannot ply them, thus forcing them to take alternative routes. The way this is done is to construct barriers through which only smaller vehicles can pass. This way, the longevity of such roads is guaranteed.
The flyovers in Awka have come at a considerable cost to the government and should therefore not be allowed to deteriorate so soon. One of the ways to ensure this is to stop the heavy vehicles from using them. Already, an accident involving one of those vehicles has been recorded, with the trailer nearly falling off the railings to the ground below where other vehicles were plying. This is why such articulated vehicles should not be allowed on the flyovers.
In a related development, the traffic grid lock recorded at Aroma Junction during rush hours is uncalled for, being that the flyover there was constructed to take care of just that. It is clear that that particular flyover was badly designed; hence its inability to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
Since the mistake has already been made, we suggest that traffic officials be regularly posted there to prevent the situation from worsening. Those there at the moment are doing their best and we commend them. They should continue as it is the only way road users will not go through pain in that axis.
Finally, we suggest the installation of neon lighted signs at the beginning of each of the flyovers to guide motorists using the service lanes. This is because of the visual problem encountered in the night which may cause motorists to hit the tip of the triangular demarcation between the flyover and the service lane.
We hope that with these precautionary measures, the flyovers will give value for money all round.