The Benin-Ore Expressway hosts several communities which are lined along the sides of this ever-busy highway. However sadly, the absence of pedestrian bridges, a ‘costly’ oversight on the part of government and designers of the road, has sent many to their early grave, while attempting to make a quick dash across the road
A popular junction leading to a community along the Benin-Ore expressway is the ‘Okada Junction’, a hub of commercial buses and traders, which takes one straight for another 15 minutes past the Igbinedion University to the centre of Okada town. Commuters and residents, however, recounted ordeals of how people have lost their lives in the course of crossing the ever-busy Benin-Ore Expressway. Residents of some communities have continuously made their public outcry for construction of pedestrian bridges to cross the highway easily and safely.
While the expressway is a federal road, the states through which the Benin-Ore Expressway runs, particularly Ondo and Edo states are yet to show serious concerns about the agony of the users. Apart from the danger to which human lives are exposed, it poses a great risk of discouraging residents from their daily activities. Similarly, the Benin-Ore Expressway Road is also a link up from Dawson Road (beginning at the Akpakpava Road junction) through Urubi Road, Uselu-Ugbowo Road onto Oluku, then to Ekiadolor junction and Ohosu (Ofosu) which is the boundary with Ondo State.
FG Road Rehabilitation
The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari earmarked N71.6 Billion for the reconstruction work on Ajebandele-Sagamu section of the Benin-Ore-Ofosu highway with the Sukuk fund. The construction work is ongoing.
The FG, however, did not consider the yearnings of commuters in terms of constructing pedestrian bridges.
The expressway which is a very busy one, commands a high volume of motorists and travellers from the east, bound from the north and west and from both axis to the east. Goods going into these regions are also conveyed in their large quantities through this highway. As earlier stated, the highway runs through many communities and villages, including junction towns as Ohosu, Ofosu, Ugbogui, Okada Junction, Usen, Oluku with no footbridges that link one side of the road to the other.
As observed, most of the time, road marshals are not always on the expressway to at least monitor the vehicular movement flow, especially for commuters. At the junctions leading to the communities, some drivers drive so recklessly that they hardly have the patience to allow pedestrians to cross. Many school children, traders going to market and workers have been crushed to death or injured in their attempt to cross the express road. Road users are left at the mercy of reckless drivers, who speed as if they were sent to claim lives.
Beyond the accidents experienced by commuters in an attempt to cross the highway, the number of accidents recorded on the expressway have prompted the people to call on those in authorities to do something tangible that will help ameliorate the rate of accidents resulting from pedestrians either trying to cross the road or vehicles trying to get to the other side of the road, by constructing footbridges and flyovers in some strategic junctions.
A resident, Micheal, a farmer, said “We’ve always suffered casualties on this expressway. Our children are always plying through this road and some are being knocked down because there is no pedestrian bridge. We need the government to come to our rescue and give us a pedestrian bridge because of these children crossing from the other end.”
Another Commuter, Destiny Emmanuel, a bus driver said the repercussions of not having pedestrian bridges along the highway has been very colossal because it has cost many families lives of their breadwinners or loved ones.
An eyewitness, Patience Sunday, said that the increase in the number of deaths at these junctions was also due to the absence of pedestrian bridges in some strategic junctions and so commuters prefer to risk their lives crossing the busy highway.
The strategic nature and location of Edo State as a major link to the South West, South-South, South East and North Central places it on a list of states with a high risk of fatal car accidents because it serves as a major terminal to most drivers travelling to different parts of the country.
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