Some Lagos residents are becoming apprehensive over planned pertial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge. The Lagos State government, in this regard has allayed fears, assuring residents that measures have been put in place to ease movement during this period. MURITALA AYINLA reports
Ms. Bolanle Iyanda is a senior official at one of the new generation banks somewhere on Victoria Island, Lagos. She lives in Ofada in Obafemi-Owode Local government area of Ogun State. To enable her to get to work before 8am, she leaves home between 3 and 4 am daily so as to circumvent several gridlock points, especially those on the dreaded Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Her daily headache was not only navigating from Lagos Mainland to Island but also getting over the troubles of petrol tankers, articulated trucks and other reckless driving and challenges that often compound the hellish gridlock experienced by residents and commuters from axis face daily. She has been lucky that despite the difficulties on the road, she has had no course to urgently consider relocation on the account of remoteness of her residence to the city centre.
The news of the Federal Government’s plan to partially shut down the Third Mainland Bridge, the major link between the Mainland, where she resides and the Island where she works, for a period of six months to enable it carry out major maintenance works on the bridge, is unsettling her. She is unsure whether relocation from her Mowe-Ibafo axis could solve the envisaged traffic snarl occasioned by the planned closure.
Ms Iyanda is not the only Nigerian worried by the planned partial-closure, which is billed to commence Friday, July 24, 2020.
Mr. Festus Diri, who lives in Alakuko near Sango Ota but works in Ajah, is also apprehensive over the planned repair work on the bridge.
To the 35-year-old man, arguments on the safety of the bridge do not make much meaning to him but concerned about the negative impact the closure will have on his daily travel time. “Why didn’t the federal government consider this during the weeks of lockdown? How can they shut a bridge as vital as 3RD mainland bridge at a time when Ikorodu Road, as well as Gbagada Expressway are not in good shape due to ongoing construction? Most transportation challenges we are facing is because the government is not considerate about the masses,” Diri argued.
Facts about the 3RD mainland bridge closure
Concerned by the commuters’ reaction on the planned partial closure, the Special Adviser to Lagos State governor on works and infrastructure, Mrs. Aramide Adeyoye, explained that Lagos residents need to understand that the bridge won’t be completely shut for traffic use.
According to her, “The closure of 3rd Mainland Bridge by the Federal Government on July 24 will be partial, not complete closure as being speculated. One side of the carriageway will be open to traffic, while the other carriageway undergoes repairs. Then the process is repeated in the other lane.”
“The repair work on the 3rd Mainland Bridge is in two phases. Phase 1 is to work on the superstructure, which is the carriageways, for six months. Phase 2 of the project will be done within Lagos lagoon where the base pillars of the bridge rest. The entire rehabilitation project will take two years to be completed but the six months of the Bridge’s partial closure will be the only period when Lagos residents will experience inconveniences. For the remaining 18 months, the contractor will be working on the base pillars within the water.
Adeyoye said as a follow up to the notice of routine maintenance work on the 3rd Mainland Bridge, the state government had commenced remediation work on the identified alternative routes to make them motor able for the public.
While urging transporters to ensure that only road worthy vehicles are put on the road, she enjoined residents to desist from putting vehicles that are likely to break down on the roads as doing so would escalate traffic congestion. She said in order to ensure that the remediation works provided on alternate roads are effective, the state government is set to enforce extant rules and impound vehicles that are not road worthy. She said: “We need to change our habits and refrain from dumping refuse in drains, indiscriminate parking of vehicles on roads and bridges and driving vehicles that are not road worthy on our roads. We can reduce traffic congestion in the metropolis. “Drains provided for roads are not meant for solid waste disposal, rather they are pathways for water to run and when the drainages are choked or the cross culverts are blocked, the asphalt surface will become water logged thereby accelerating the rate of dilapidation of the roads. This would further affect free flow of traffic,” she said.
FG, LASG begin collaborative repairs of alternative routes
As the partial closure of the bridge takes effect in the next 48 hours, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, said massive rehabilitation of alternative routes was progressing. According to him, the Federal Ministry of Works and Lagos State Government were tackling the rehabilitation works together simultaneously on different access paths. He said rising from a stakeholders meeting held on July 13th, all participants, including the roads maintenance interests groups, swung into immediate action to ensure minimal traffic discomfort. “The efforts we have made so far concerning partial closure of the 3rd Mainland Bridge on July 24th, 2020, some of the alternative routes that people may take are being repaired. The Federal Ministry of Works has repaired Iddo-Oyingbo Road, we asked the contractor, Messrs Borini Porini, to go there and fill the pot holes, which they have done. We also cleared the drains there after our meeting with stakeholders on July 11th, 2020,” he said.
The controller explained that the Lagos State Government agreed to fix bad portions around the Iganmu Bridge, adding that its public works agency was also fixing some other roads.
“I was with the Special Adviser to Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday and they promised to address the failure around the Iganmu Bridge. And I am sure they have started because they are working with the Lagos State Public Works Corporation,” he assured. He added that CCECC was also deployed to fix failed portions of the Independence Tunnel on Ikorodu Road on Thursday. Popoola also explained that Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) on its part had fixed bad portions and cleaned drains at Ijora Olopa.
Lagos lists alternative routes
To ensure safety and free flow of traffic at all times, the state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, has confirmed that the palliative works on the alternative routes highlighted for traffic management during the proposed 3rd Mainland Bridge rehabilitation are rounding up in readiness for the partial closure.
Responding to questions raised concerning some failed sections of the alternative routes, confirmed that Iddo inwards Carter Bridge, Market road inward Herbert Macaulay Road, Herbert Macaulay road by Abeokuta Street, Herbert Macaulay by Cemetery and Apapa inward Oyingbo have all been fixed.
According to him, the first phase of the bridge rehabilitation would focus on Oworonshoki inward Lagos Island in the morning with traffic diversion from 12.00 midnight to 1.00pm while the Lagos Island inward Oworonshoki will divert traffic in the afternoon from 1.00pm to 12.00 midnight. The Commissioner, who noted that different options had been provided for motorists to navigate their journeys, advised motorists heading towards Ikeja and Ikorodu roads from Osborne Road, Ikoyi in the morning to make use of Carter Bridge to access Eko Bridge through Ijora Olopa which will lead them through Funsho Williams Avenue to Doman Long Bridge to Ikorodu, or use Carter Bridge to Iddo through Oyingbo to Herbert Macaulay to Jibowu and link Ikorodu Road. Hence, Oladeinde advised motorists coming from Victoria Island to utilize Ozumba Mbadiwe Road to Falomo Bridge through Alfred Rewane to Old Kingsway Road, Osborn to Ilubirin and Catter Bridge. As a second option for this category of motorists, he advised them to take Bonny Camp to Independence Bridge to Marina Bridge through Apongbon to Eko Bridge, Ijora Olopa, Iddo and Oyingbo.
In the Afternoon, Road users inbound Lagos Island are advised to use Ojota on Ikorodu road to access Funsho Williams Avenue through Eko Bridge/Apongbon axis or utilize Ikorodu road to access Fadeyi/jibowu/yaba axis to access Oyingbo-Iddo to Carter Bridge
Alternatively, the Commissioner stated that motorists can also use Oshodi/Charity through Agege Motor Road to access Cappa to link Ilupeju Bypass or Mushin to get to Town Planning Way to link Ikorodu road or access Moshalasi/Idi-Oro from Mushin to access Funsho Williams avenue and connect Eko Bridge to get to Apongbon or use Empire road to access Yaba to link Oyingbo-Iddo axis. In the same vein, Motorists coming from the International Airport to Lagos are advised to use Oshodi-oke to get to Town Planning to link Ikorodu road.
Oladeinde disclosed that repair works are ongoing on the remaining routes highlighted for traffic diversions to enhance free traffic flow along the corridor during rehabilitation works.
Meanwhile, to reduce the high influx of vehicles during the closure, Oladeinde advised motorists who do not have urgent assignments on the island to avoid the area from Friday 24th July, 2020, while those that must visit the area should consider the use of the dedicated BRT/LBSL buses to further reduce traffic congestion on the repair corridor.
He urged the road users to comply with the State’s Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the laid down Traffic directions to minimize inconvenience in movement and ensure smooth and uninterrupted flow of work on the Bridge. The Commissioner also advised Lagos residents to make use of water transportation by linking up with the various jetties in the metropolis for their journeys. “Lagos State Government is hereby appealing to residents of the State, especially motorists that ply these corridors to bear the pain, as the project is aimed at ensuring safety of the people in an emerging Smart City,’’ Oladeinde stated.