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Hopes dashed over repairs of burnt Lagos airport link bridge

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Hopes for early return of normalcy on the burnt Lagos Airport link bridge, may have been dashed following non-commencement of works on the fly-over.

The Federal Government had earlier said repairs would start on the burnt bridge by the end of March. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Alhaji Babangida Hussaini, rekindled the hope when he led officials of the ministry on a two-day technical inspection of roads and housing projects in Lagos around middle of March.

He had affirmed that repairs on the bridge would alleviate the inconveniences encountered by commuters going through the airport.

“We have just concluded the technical evaluation. We have done the integrity test. What we are doing now is the procurement process. I can assure you that the contractor will start work on the bridge by end of the month because it is an important link road to the airport,” he said.

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Alhaji Hussaini said he had the permission of the minister of works and housing to inspect the bridge and report back to him for immediate remediation of the damages, and also described the incident as worrisome.

He lamented that tankers carrying combustible materials are always a problem on the highways and the nation’s facilities, saying it is high time; they appreciated the need to be cautious in carrying hazardous materials on the highways.

He said: “You can see the extent of damage on the bridge, and it is not the first time that the government would be providing money to repair damaged bridges.”

However, with March gone, there is no physical presence of workers at the scene while commuters and motorists who have waited patiently for the repairs are now worried that their sufferings, occasioned by the closure of the link bridge, are yet to end.

A motorist, who plies Mile 2-Hajj Camp-Airport route, Wasiu Abiodun, said he was happy with news of commencement of work on the burnt bridge because of the stress and constant harassment by law enforcement agents when they ply one-way from Charity Bus Stop.

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He expressed dismay that 12 days after, no official of the ministry or their contractor is on ground for the repairs. Abiodun’s view was corroborated by a pharmacist, Emmanuel Okeke, who works at a Federal Medical Centre, Surulere, but lives in Agege. He said the closure of the bridge has impacted negatively on his itinerary.

Okeke urged the Federal Government to match words with action by commencing immediate repairs on the bridge.

But, Director of Federal Highways, South-West, Adedamola Kuti, claimed that work was already ongoing at the bridge. According to him, “although there is no physical commencement yet on the site, there are things ‘we are tidying up. Even, when you don’t see us physically on the road, work is already ongoing,” he added.

The bridge, which runs across the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki expressway, was razed when a tanker conveying 44,000 litres of diesel burst into flames on January 29, 2021. Since then, the government has closed the bridge, abandoned it, causing untold hardship to motorists and commuters around the area.

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