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Will Eko Bridge reopening take 11 months like Airport Link Bridge?

By Gbenga Salau
27 March 2022   |   2:44 am
With a section of Eko Bridge closed to vehicular traffic due to the fire incident at Apongbon Market that affected the facility, the pains that motorists and commuters may experience

[FILES] A general view of a cracked section of the Apongbon bridge where the fire is burning from underneath at Apongbon market in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 23, 2022. – A morning fire on March 23, 2022 badly damaged a main bridge in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, razing dozens of shops and risking more traffic chaos in the city, the emergency.<br />The blaze broke out during of an extended nationwide electricity shortage, which along with a spike in global fuel prices is already hurting households and businesses in Africa’s largest economy. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

With a section of Eko Bridge closed to vehicular traffic due to the fire incident at Apongbon Market that affected the facility, the pains that motorists and commuters may experience from the partial closure of the bridge may take months, especially if a similar incident in 2021 is juxtaposed.

It took eleven months to reopen the Airport Link Bridge after it was closed for repairs. There was a collision between two trucks at Toyota Bus stop area with one of the trucks not only spilt its diesel content but also went up in flame, scorching the second truck, the median and the main pillar of the Airport Link Bridge. The bridge was closed in January and reopened in November and during the period; commuters and motorists went through harrowing experiences, including extortion by the law enforcement agents.

Three bridges connect the Lagos mainland to Island. And commuting to connect mainland or island using these bridges during peak periods usually comes with discomfort occasioned by hectic traffic. It is why the state government and some critical stakeholders feel the fourth mainland bridge is critical to easing the pains and the gridlock.

With one of the bridges now partially closed to traffic, some residents only hoped that the governments at federal and state levels would do the needful and quickly fix the bridge.

Just like then, the state government has announced alternative routes. In a statement, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde explained that integrity assessment would be carried out to ascertain the level of damage caused by the fire incidence for adequate rehabilitation of the bridge.
Oladeinde advised motorists heading towards Apongbon from Surulere and its environs to use Ijora/Apapa route or Leventis/UBA Roundabout to connect Marina and their desired destinations.

Alternately, he also advised motorists to use Ebute Ero to link Inner Marina and Third Mainland Bridge to continue their journeys, affirming that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) is already on the ground along the alternative routes to minimise inconveniences.

The commissioner assured that the state government is fully committed to ensuring the safety of the commuting public within the metropolis.

Lagos and Victoria Islands are the major economic hubs of the state. The two islands are home to most Nigerian banks’ head offices and other medium and large-scale businesses such as real estate consultancy firms, electrical appliances manufacturers and retail stores.

This is why from morning till late evening, there is high vehicular and human movement in and out of the two islands. While connecting the two islands comes with pains, it is more obvious during peak periods of resumption and closing with motorists and commuters spending hours in traffic for a trip that should take less than 10 minutes.

And motorists and commuters are already bearing the brunt following the partial closure of the bridge. A commuter, Vivian Okafor, said she left her office around 5 pm on Thursday, but did not get to Orile until after 8 pm. She added that to avoid getting late to the office on Friday, she had to leave home before 6:00 am yet still got to the office after 7:00 am. According to her, many of her colleagues came late to work on Friday because they got stuck in traffic, as they spent more hours on the road to the office.

Another resident, Emem Maurice, also shared a similar experience, revealing she had a hectic time connecting her home in Surulere after work on Thursday.