10 years after, work still ongoing at Muwo-Ira bridge
Segun Adedipe was born in 2005 in the Muwo area of Ojo Local Council of Lagos State. He started primary school seeing the Muwo-Ira Bridge being constructed by the state government.
In a few years he would be through with secondary education, but the bridge has still not been completed.
When it would be completed, he and other members of his community do not know because the contractor has left site, abandoning the project.
Contract for the construction of the bridge, it was learnt, was awarded in 2007 during the administration of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola.
Until he left office in 2015, the project was going at snail speed.
The initial contractor, Moreno Construction Company, it was gathered moved to site in 2007, the same year the contract was awarded, only to leave site five years later in 2012, with the project very far from completion.
The Guardian learnt that the state government (under Fashola), revoked the contract it awarded to Moreno Construction Company due to slow pace of work, and the firm’s inability to meet its contractual obligations.
In 2013, the contract was re-awarded to Lopek Construction Company in the sum of N1.288b, but the construction company did not move to site until 2015.
The Chairman, Muwo Community Development Association, Mr. Sunday Oyesina, revealed that when Governor Akinwunmi Ambode got into office, the community mobilised, in a petition drew the attention of the state government to the abandoned bridge, and the pains residents were going through as a result of its non-completion.
According to him, it was after this that the new contractor moved to site to commence work. He remained on site for a year before abandoning the project in 2016. Since then, the bridge has remained in that state, while residents and motorists are groaning.
Oyesina said many members of the Muwo Community had anticipated that the bridge would be completed early enough to serve as an alternative route for them when the state government starts the construction of the Abule-Ado-Iba section of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
Though the bridge has not been completed, residents and motorists were forced to start using it in the present state because the alternative is not a better option.
When The Guardian visited the site, heavy-duty trucks moving wet sand dug from a lagoon close-by were seen driving across the uncompleted bridge, which has developed pockets of potholes over time.
Oyesina, who said they resorted to use of the bridge because they do no have a better alternative, added that to navigate the canal that separates the community and Ira, a wooden bridge was constructed, which cost the community a lot of money.
He added that because of the heavy usage that the wooden bridge is subjected to, a section of it caved in with residents falling into the canal.
This, he said was one of the reasons that the community members brought their plight to the attention of Governor Ambode when he came into office newly.
The community development association chair said the entire community was surprised that Lopek has equally stopped work, even though some of its equipment were still on site.
He, therefore, pleaded with the state government to establish the reasons why the contractor stopped work.
Even though a staff of the company claimed work ground to a halt when the company’s director passed on, Oyesina said that it was not a tenable excuse to stop work when the contractor had been paid.
A resident who pleaded anonymity urged government to ensure the contractor immediately returns to site to complete the bridge or finds a way to stop heavy duty trucks from using the bridge in order to prevent a section of the bridge from caving in.
Another resident, Stanley Okechukwu, alleged that the state government cares less about them the reason it has taken over a decade to complete a bridge that is less than a kilometre.
“There is nothing we enjoy as residents of the community from government. Yet, we pay all kinds of taxes and rates to government. Our road is in a very bad state, a bridge that construction works started over 10 years ago is yet to be completed. This is because this place is an abandoned area. We are often constrained to carry out projects through communal efforts, and these are projects that should ordinarily be executed by the state government.”
The chairman of Muwo CDA also corroborated Okechukwu’s position saying during the rainy season, motorists go through hell driving on the Muwo-Tedi-Abule Road, where vehicles get stuck in the sandy, pothole-ridden road that gets marshy and soggy at such times.
He added that if the Muwo-Tedi Road had been constructed, the pains that motorists and commuters go through along the Lagos-Badagry Road, especially between Iyana-Iba and Abule-Oshun would have been reduced drastically.
The Ministry of Works, which said it is aware that the second contractor has left site too, disclosed that the project was abandoned due to some encumbrances, which are being worked on.
While appealing to residents to be patient, it, however, said efforts were being made to ensure that the contractor returns to site before the end of the year.