Failed Ijora Bridge: Residents allege shoddy job, lack of supervision
• Saboteurs stole major reinforcement element, says FG
• Lagos shuts, diverts traffic at Ijora axis indefinitely
Motorists and residents, yesterday, said failed portion of Ijora-Olopa, inward Ijora-Oloye–Apapa, opposite Water Corporation, may have been caused by lack of supervision by the Federal Ministry of Work and Housing, as well as parking of heavy-duty trucks in the area.
According to them, closure of roads around the area put pressure on the bridge built decades ago, and led to gradual failure of the road before it partially collapsed last week.
Some of them, who spoke to The Guardian, yesterday, alleged that some police officers, who built a makeshift shelter around the failed portion, contributed to the failure of the portion.
They stressed that stopping heavy-duty trailers on the failed portion contributed to the collapse.
The Guardian also discovered that there is no iron rod to hold the concrete and there were no pillars built around the portion.
A driver who plies the road claimed that the portion caved in, last week, and that it was evident that the portion would totally collapse in a few days, but no one came around to assess it.
He also expressed surprise that there was no iron road in the concrete.
He said: “Now they will rob and just enter here to escape, just see how deep and spacious it is for these guys to carry out their operation. A couple was robbed in this area on Tuesday. Imagine what would happen with this opening.”
Reacting, Special Adviser to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Hakeem Bello, said the road did not collapse due to lack of diligence on the part of the road contractor.
Bello insisted that saboteurs who stole major reinforcement element and built shanties in the area caused the incident.
He said that it is wrong for anyone to think that the portion failed because it was not properly constructed. “Nigerians should blame saboteurs who stole the major reinforcement element,” he said.
He said the Minister had on several occasions asked illegal squatters occupying under-bridges in Lagos to quit as fire incidents and other illegal activities underneath such bridges often result in extensive damage to the vital infrastructure constructed with the nation’s scarce resources
MEANWHILE, Lagos State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredric Oladeinde, said the bridge has been shut down for repairs.
Oladeinde, who did not give a specific period the repairs and diversion would last, stressed that the diversion became necessary pending repairs to be carried out by the Federal Government, in collaboration with the state government.
The commissioner listed the following routes already mapped out to minimise inconvenience, to include: Motorists from Eko Bridge to utilise Iganmu/Sifax to access Ijora Oloye or Apapa.
Motorists from Iddo heading to Ijora-Oloye/Apapa will be diverted at the intersection underpass on a contra flow to reconnect at the U-Turn inwards Ijora-Oloye or Apapa.
The ministry, therefore, appealed to motorists who make use of the corridor to cooperate with the state’s Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the interventions put in place to manage the traffic.
Also, a statement by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, through his Special Adviser on Communications, Hakeem Bello, read in part: “The Federal Government on Wednesday directed the immediate closure of the Ijora-Olopa Bridge following the discovery that some miscreants have tampered with the major reinforcement elements of the deck from underneath, which led to the failure of a section of the Bridge along Ijora Olopa Road, beside Water Corporation, Ijora.
“Roads leading directly to the Bridge such as Costain inward Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge descent inward Ijora Oloye have, as a result, been closed to traffic from last night.
“Working with the Lagos State government and other traffic management authorities, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos has also issued the following Traffic Advisory to ensure that motorists and other members of the commuting public are able to use alternative routes. Eko Bridge motorists should take IGANMU/ SIFAX to Ijora Oloye or Apapa. From Iddo to Ijora-Oloye/ Apapa; traffic will be diverted at the intersection underpass at Ijora Olopa on contraflow, and reconnected at the U-Turn to Ijora-Oloye or Apapa.”