Wooden bridges as connexions in the smart city
Commuting across Lagos State can be a daunting task hence the reason some residents, commuters and motorists not only avoid routes with potential for traffic gridlocks, they also prefer shortcuts that would lead them to their destinations in good time, and with less stress.
As part of efforts to ease traffic gridlocks and ensure better commuting, the state government has been creating alternative routes on some corridors within the city, linking communities that are separated by large canals or sundry water bodies with bridges.
In areas that are bereft of similar facilities, residents have constructed bridges to link two communities or one section of a community to another, especially in places where the government has failed to do the needful.
And efforts like these dot different parts of the state, just as some of them appear unbefitting of Lagos’ status as a mega smart city. This much can be gleaned from the number of rickety, fee-paying, wooden bridges constructed to serve both vehicular and human traffic.
Igando-Ayobo Wooden Bridges
LOCATED in the Lanre area of Igando, is the Omojowolo Bridge, which links Lanre in Igando, to Ayobo. Both communities are in Alimosho Local Council. Within the neighbourhood is a wooden footbridge, which also links another section of Igando to Ayobo. Even though this pedestrian bridge is longer, it is not as wide as the one located in Lanre, used by vehicles and pedestrians. The use of both bridges attracts fees.
Their crude state not befitting a mega city status notwithstanding, Grace Yomi, a resident of the area said the bridge has been of huge benefit to her because it provides a shortcut to move in and out of the community, especially whenever she needs to connect Igando from her location in Ayobo.
According to him, using the bridge to connect Igando saves her not only money, but time and energy, as she spends more than N500 to connect Igando using the alternative route as against using the bridge, which cost half the amount.
“This bridge was constructed by individuals in the community and they have done a good job. This shows that they are thinking ahead, and also have better thoughts for the residents than the government, which we all voted for,” she said.
Pedestrians pay N50 per usage of both bridges, while cars are charged N200 per trip, and commercial buses N300 per trip. Commercial drivers, however, have an option of either paying per trip, or paying a lump sum for the day.
In explainsing how the bulk payment, which is also called “booking” works, Joseph Chukwuma, a commercial driver said in the lump sum payment that lasts for the day, a motorcyclist is Charged N800, while tri-cyclists pay N1,000; small buses pay N1, 400 and 14-seater buses and the likes are charged N1,700.
He also disclosed that when private cars make use of the bridge, they drivers are charged N200, while each of the occupants part with N50 each.
The driver who frowned at government’s insensitivity for abandoning the people of the area to their fate for about two decades now, lamented that the bridges are not well maintained by the managers despite the charges, as protruding objects including nails often puncture vehicle tyres.
He also alleged that government’s apparent insensitivity was because some persons in government, especially at the local council officials, community leaders and police officers were benefiting from owners and managers of the wooden bridges.
Another resident, Yemisi Adepoju, on her part said using the bridges these days constitute serious danger to commuters as they have become rickety, hence the need for the government to come in and construct proper bridges for the communities.
She also said: “We have heard several times that the government wants to build a bridge for the community, but I am surprised that it has not been constructed to date.”
Ago Palace Way-Jakande Estate Wooden Link Bridge
WALKING across this bridge costs the average pedestrian N50, while it costs cars N200 each to do so. Sports Utility Vehicle (SUVs) pay between N300 and N500 to use the facility. However, even though residents of Ago Palace Way and Jakande areas are excited using the Fasehun Bridge, they are very bitter with the state government for not living up to its responsibilities.
A resident, Godwin Onyekachi, said the construction of the bridge by a resident clearly shows that the government has failed in the provision of social amenities for the citizens.
Onyekachi who said plying the wooden bridge saves him a lot of troubles, time and resources contrary to using the alternative route, stressed that the government waiting for an individual to construct a bridge for citizens constitutes a very shameful act.
He added: “We have lawmakers who represent us, yet they do not see the construction of a bridge like this as an important constituency project to execute. It is really a shame.”
Uchechi Okoro, who appreciates the wooden bridge for saving her precious travel time, which would have been lost going through the Oke-Afa Bridge, however, wondered how much it would cost the government to construct a proper bridge across the canal, especially given the value of what the people stand to benefit from such.
“Do you know the trouble people go through making use of the Oke-Afa Bridge?” Okoro asked, while another resident, Adetola David, described the construction of the bridge as a good initiative, “as walking or driving through the bridge serves as an alternative route, and easy access to places like Ago Palace, Jakande Estate, Bucknor and Isheri areas of the state.
Oke-Ira Wooden Bridges, Ogba
THERE are also two wooden pedestrian bridges in Oke-Ira area of Ogba in Ojodu Local Council Development Area. The bridge at Modupe area links Abiola Street in Oke-Ira to Oba Woole, in Ifako. Pedestrians pay N30 to access the first facility, while N20 is charged per pedestrian to use the second one at Powerline, which links Ayodele Ariyo Street to Yakoyo street.
Tajudeen Adebayo, who resides in the area wants the government to do something fast about the situation, as it was unfair for residents/taxpayers to pay to use the foot bridge that is highly dangerous to use late at night.
Kuje-Amuwo Wooden Bridges
THERE are several wooden bridges on this corridor for vehicles and pedestrians. At least two of them – the ones on Nduka Igbokwu and Ogu streets, are being used by both pedestrians and vehicles. Pedestrians do not pay to use any of the bridges. While usage of Ogu Street bridge is free for vehicular traffic, there is a daily fee charged on the bridge on Igbokwu Street. Car drivers pay N200; bus drivers pay N500, and motorcyclists pay N50 daily.
Another bridge on Ogu Street, where commuters and motorists pay was constructed, and is being maintained by a certain Payola, who also owns a hotel at the end of the street.
A resident of Monkey Village, where the bridge on Igbokwu is sited, Mr. Innocent Amadi, said that the bridge was constructed when the only entrance into the community, Alahun Osunba Street was impassable. He added that the token being charged daily was meant to support the maintenance of the bridge.
Amadi, who noted that since the government generates substantial revenue from taxpayers residing in the area, including buildings and companies, such revenue would be enhanced if a proper bridge was erected.
“So, we would be happy if the government comes forward to construct a bridge here because paying to access our houses always looks like extortion. There is nothing as good as infrastructural development coming into a community because it makes lives comfortable and worth living,” he said.
Apart from the above-mentioned locations, such bridges are found at the Boundary area of Ajegunle, that is behind the Boundary Market in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Council.
The bridge, which used to be made of wood, is now iron-cast, and it links the market to the Liverpool area of Apapa Local Council. Access to the bridge is N20.
There is also a wooden bridge at ECN Bus Stop, Ajegunle. The bridge is on Shogbesan Lane, off Ezeagu Street. These two bridges, located in Boundary and ECN, are for pedestrians. Such bridges are also located at Badore and Idowu-Egba, along the Iba-Igando area.
Efforts to get the state government to speak on claims by some residents that they have engaged appropriate authorities on the need to intervene and close the infrastructural gaps in these communities were not successful.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed did not respond to several calls made to his mobile phone, just as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Aramide Adeyoye, did not also pick her calls too.