Motorists and other road users have started complaining about the heavy traffic around the Garrison Junction flyover in Port Harcourt recently inaugurated by the Rivers State Government, fearing that the multibillion naira bridge constructed by Julius Berger might not have resolved the problematic traffic it was meant to resolve.
The flyover was opened for use last month to decongest traffic at their section of the Port Harcourt – Aba expressway, and the branch-out to the busy Trans-Amadi Industrial Layout and the Eastern Bypass.
But since its commissioning by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the spot around the flyover has continued to create serious traffic, with a spillover effect on other parts of the city, especially during rush hours.
Motorists and commuters alike have been lamenting their woes and the precious time lost because of the holdups.
Lyna Okara, a resident of the city observed that nothing has changed since the flyover was commissioned. “Even with few cars when it’s not rush hour people grapple with commercial vehicles picking and dropping passengers right on the road. Some make U-turns right at the head of the road. No orderliness, no consideration for other road users,” Okara said.
Another resident said, “They need to create U-Turn points before the Garrison Junction so that vehicles coming from town or waterlines do not have to get to the Main roundabout under the flyover. For now, traffic control under that bridge is poor.”
Another resident, Nath Excellence, said the problem lay with improper planning. He said the authorities should have found a way of diverting traffic from arterial roads instead spending so much to construct expensive flyovers.
He said, “My thinking is that, most vehicles who, have no business at the intersections should be given an alternate (one way) to get to the expressway. That will relieve connection at those points. For instance, a vehicle coming from “Mummy B” with Rumuola as destination doesn’t need to get to the main GRA junction, a diversion cutting through Zenith Bank would make more sense. Those coming into “Mummy B” could access it from the uncompleted mall. These design can replicated across town and we probably wouldn’t have need for some of these ‘flyovers.’”
A former youth leader in the state, Godspower Igwe, blamed the contractors, Julius Berger for doing a poor job of the flyover. “Julius Berger failed in the design; the Traffic Jam now is 200% worse than before,” he said.
Leonard Amadi, another Port Harcourt resident, said the flyover should have been a total interchange to resolve the Garrison Junction traffic. “Those going to Trans Amadi from either Waterlines or Mile 1 park, need not to come down and same is also applicable to those accessing either Waterlines or Mile 1 park from Trans Amadi but instead the reverse is now the case.
“That is a monumental failure on the part of those who did the design. So much money has been expended on this garrison, from a gigantic roundabout to this flyover now yet the solution is not at sight,” Amadi lamented.
But Chinwe Amadi-Boms suggests a way out. “The flyover in concept and design isn’t totally bad but traffic control. The commercial vehicles that pick and drop off at both lanes of the junction leading to Trans Amadi and Ogbunabali which impede traffic flow are the major challenge. The solution would be to use the Mobil and MRS petrol stations as car park.”