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Motorists groan over Third Mainland Bridge repairs

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Ongoing repairs on the Bridge

With about 38 days left to reopen the Third Mainland Bridge, motorists plying the facility yesterday condemned the decision by the Federal Government to extend the diversion points period by four weeks, saying that it would impact negatively on their daily activities and businesses.

They lamented that instead of a one-hour journey from the mainland to the Island, the extension would make the trip a four-hour journey daily following emergence of traffic on the diversion axis.

The 11.8km Third Mainland Bridge, linking Lagos Island and the Mainland, is under a series of repairs.

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It was partially shut on July 24, 2019 for a round of rehabilitation works. The repair, expected to last six months, was extended by one month due to the recent protests in Lagos, which extended the completion period from January to February.

The construction was initially divided into two phases of three months on each carriageway, starting from the Oworonshoki bound carriageway which completion extended to four months.

Traffic was partially diverted on a stretch of 3.5km where construction is ongoing between Adeniji Adele Ramp and Ebute Meta, while different time belts were allotted for traffic diversions on the bridge.

At a recent meeting held between the contractor, Federal and Lagos State government officials, traffic regulatory and law enforcement agencies to review the construction modalities, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, said the diversion shift was to allow for additional time for removal and replacement of expansion joints along the Adekunle Ramp, which were longer and almost twice the size of other expansion joints.

Popoola explained: “The period for the diversion shift will now be from January 15, which is Friday to February 13. It will take four weeks, no more two weeks, because of the volume of work. They have to remove the expansion joints. They have removed two; the one that is before that Adekunle Ramp down has not been opened or removed. That will take time, not less than 10 days before they break and remove it, then we will now cast the concrete. So, that is why we are taking four weeks,’’ he explained.

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The controller had stressed that it was discovered that the initial two weeks set for shifting of the diversion was not enough, hence the review to ensure the concrete got set before reopening the slip road to traffic.

He said that there were additional works to be done after the completion of the expansion joints, adding that the work on the bridge would be completed on February 22, 2021.

Narrating his ordeal, a motorist, Mr Ismaila Olawale, said: “The extension is giving everybody problems now. The Iyana Oworo end has been closed. The closure has doubled the number of hours we have to spend on the road. All vehicles now ply one-way. They usually open the bridge to those coming from the Island by 1.00p.m. and so those of us going to the Island by that time can’t use the bridge. We will have to pass through Anthony.

“If I should leave Berger, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by 1.00pm, at least I will spend four to five hours instead of one or one and half hours to get to the Island due to the heavy traffic on the road, even to get to Ikorodu road is a problem.”

Another motorist, Felix Akintan, who spoke with The Guardian, disclosed that public transport operators who ply the bridge now operate in a pensive mood because of the number of hours wasted on the road due to the repairs.

Akintan said: “At least, we spend not less than four hours to get to CMS from the Mainland. Coming from the Island, the roads from Western Avenue/Ojuelegba/Ikorodu under bridge to Ikeja are usually blocked.

“My carburetor has developed a problem due to overuse. I had to repair with N40, 000. I’m using more diesels now for my vehicle and the price has increased from N170/172 to N220. The government needs to speed up the repair so that the bridge can be fully re-opened. Look at even the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, the work is too slow and lives are wasting on that road. We learnt that they would reopen it on February 22, but we don’t trust the government propaganda again until they open it.”

Kazeem explained that because of the traffic, he had adjusted his operation to just one trip per day.

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Meanwhile, the General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Olajide Oduyoye, has clarified that the bridge is not closed, but there was a temporary adjustment of diversion points following a faulty joint, called ‘Joint 27,’ which needs to be repaired.

This, he stated, means that motorists plying the bridge from Oworosoki to Lagos Island and those heading towards Adekunle would be able to use a side of the bridge.

The LASTMA boss in a video sighted by The Guardian on Sunday said: “The changeover has moved so that the joint can be repaired. It means that between 12midnight and 12 noon, everyone going to Adekunle and Lagos Island from Oworosoki can still use the bridge, but people going to Adekunle or Oyingbo from Third Mainland Bridge wouldn’t be able to go through the bridge after 12pm because where they are supposed to drop down.

“If you want to go to that side after 12 o’clock, you are supposed to use Apapa/Oshodi expressway via Anthony/Ikorodu road. For those coming from Island, Ido and Oyingbo axis, from 12midnight to 1’o clock in the afternoon, they wouldn’t be able to use the
Third Mainland Bridge at all. But they could use the bridge after 1pm because the side for motorists coming from Lagos Island to Oworosoki would have been opened.

“That is the only change. The bridge is not closed. People just need to know the time they can use the bridge.”

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