By Our Reporters
A cross section of commuters and motorists who ply the busy Okigwe Road in Owerri, Imo State, have given kudos to the governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, for completing the flyover project, the first in the state capital, at the Ugwu Orji section of the road.
Speaking to Christian Voice, some of the regular users of the road said that the opening of the road last week had been a great relief to them considering the constant traffic gridlock they suffered since the project took off.
A commercial tricyclist, Aloy Onyeka, praised the governor but advised that adequate drainage system be provided around the concrete basement and the edge of the road to protect it from erosion that is very prevalent in the area.
Onyeka, who said he is a graduate but took to ‘keke’ operations for want of job, also called for the repair of roads in the rural areas.
He said that the rainy season has set in and that our communities have no good roads to link them to the urban areas.
Another woman who resides at Amakohia asked the government to now face that of Amakohia /Akwakuma. She criticized the company that handled the job alleging that their finishing was not very smooth referring to the lack of drainage around the project.
According to the woman who wouldn’t want her name in print, “other areas need flyovers too. Owelle should do more”.
Also speaking, a construction engineer based in Imo, Engr. Olu Nzekwe, praised the governor, saying that flyovers are usually needed in growing cities like Owerri to ease traffic.
He said that Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state has about four flyovers, pointing out that, beside the economic downturn, he would have advised the governor to construct another one at Control Post in front of Assumpta Cathedral, as well as the junction where Orlu Road meets Bank Road and Assumpta Avenue.
Another respondent, however, said that the money spent on the project, which was started by former Gov. Ikedi Ohakim, should have been used to address the numerous erosion sites in Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe, the major cities in the state, as well as rural roads.
The respondent, an environmentalist who simply identified himself as Sunny, said that flyovers are built as a last resort, when traffic lights and roundabouts have failed, contending that it signifies an unplanned city rather than a mark of modernism.
A taxi driver who plies the road said the construction of the flyover would go a long way in easing traffic on Okigwe Road axis of the capital city but quickly added that if the government has money to execute a project of this magnitude, it has no reason not to address the issue of bad roads in the rural areas especially the satellite communities.
He, therefore, appealed to Owelle to take urgent steps to open up the rural communities of the state through the provision of good road network and other amenities. This, according to him, will help decongest the city and remove traffic gridlocks on its roads.
Speaking also a teacher, Mrs Rose other (names withheld) said that Owelle had done more than any other governor in the state in the area of upgrading the existing infrastructure.
She urged Imo people to support his government to encourage him to do more. She however, cautioned Owelle not to abandon the rural areas “where the majority of Imo citizens live”.
During an inspection of the flyover, late last year, Gov. Okorocha had promised to complete the project before the first quarter of this year ends.
Christian Voice gathered that the Governor was moved by the plight of travellers to open the road while construction on the drainage is yet to be completed. A government source said that all necessary work would be completed before the official commissioning of the flyover.