Any moment from now, the much awaited dry season will set in and for the people of Anambra State, it will herald the period that the State Government had promised to fix the bad roads across the state. Indeed, to use the roads in the state these days has become a terrible and uncomfortable experience. The majority of these roads either need the fixing of potholes or outright reconstruction. It is so bad that one could be right to proclaim that road infrastructure has collapsed in the state.
But reacting to the complaints of the citizenry, the Anambra State Government of Chief Willie Obiano had given the rains as a major reason for not fixing the roads, promising that once the rains stopped, action would be taken on the roads.
The imminent coming of the dry season will, no doubt, be welcomed by the people of the state who will expect the government to live up to its promise.
The cost of building roads these days is quite high; just as the cost of maintaining them. Against this backdrop, one would expect the state government to build solid roads that will last for a reasonable length of time before palliative work is done on them. It is far cheaper to build roads that last than those that won't as the cost of regularly maintaining them may eventually be same as the cost of building them.
We therefore call on the state government and concerned agencies to ensure that this time, any work done – be it patching of potholes or construction/reconstruction of roads – is done with an eye for longevity.
We also suggest that work on busy roads be done at night in order to lessen the suffering of road users. One of these roads is the Amawbia Bypass. This is an important road in the Capital City which has almost completely failed. Its sad state was compounded by the scraping of portions of it by the government which has led to regular traffic jams. It is regrettable that the scraping was done when there was no intention to immediately follow it up. This has added to the congestion witnessed on the road.
We therefore suggest that when the government is finally ready to work on it, it is either it works in the night or it closes the road completely after opening up another road for road users. It can do this by doing palliative work on the portion of the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway between Amawbia Express Junction and the Umuokpu Junction by the express which leads into the Enugu/Onitsha Old Road.
This way, those heading to the old road from Awka City can bypass the closed Amawbia Express Junction and use the road connecting Umuokpu from the express. In the same vein, those coming from Onitsha through the old road will connect the express through Umuokpu and avoid the Amawbia Express Bypass. This will be the situation until the Amawbia Bypass is finished. The same should be applied to roads with similar challenges across the major cities.
The good thing about this is that no one suffers unduly by being trapped in traffic while work goes on.
We urge the government to fully utilize the dry season and do a good job on the roads so that when the rains return, there will not be a repeat of the present experience.