• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Eko Bridge: FG reassures on completion of repair work in May

Eko Bridge: FG reassures on completion of repair work in May

The Federal Government has reassured that repair work on the burnt Akpongbon Bridge will be completed by the end of May 2023.

Umar Bakare, the federal controller of works in Lagos, who gave this assurance in a telephone interview with BusinessDay, said that the government was determined to ensure that the repair work was completed within the scheduled date.

It is a daily dose of suffering for motorists and commuters who for 13 months now have been on slow motion on Eko Bridge which has been closed to traffic since March 23, 2022.

“Many of the commuters who have been compelled to trek long distances to reach their destinations have the feeling that the government has abandoned the repair work on the bridge. But that is not so.

“Work is on-going at the site; the workers are working hard to meet the scheduled completion date and we are hopeful that they will meet up,” Bakare said, acknowledging that motorists have had tough time navigating their way to and from Lagos Island.

Read also: Eko Bridge: We are doing our best to end motorists suffering, FG reassures

When this reporter visited the project site recently, workers were seen busy on the bridge. One of the workers who spoke to the reporter was also hopeful that the rehabilitation work would be completed by May.

However, the worker, who did not want to disclose his name, prayed that there would be no more crisis that would disrupt their work as it happened during the cash scarcity period when, according to him, they could hardly get money for transporting themselves to site.

It was observed at the project site that much of the work under the bridge had been done. Some repair work was also started on top of the bridge and it seemed that May could be realistic.

Since March 23, 2022 when the bridge got burnt due to uncontrolled trading activities under the bridge, Eko Bridge which links motorists to the burnt bridge has been closed to traffic.

Motorists’ woes on the bridge became worse when in November 2022, a section of the Eko Bridge also got burnt, leading to the closure of another section of the bridge.

The consequence of these avoidable fire incidents is that motorists spend over two hours going to Lagos Island from Costain, National Stadium, Oyingbo and Yaba axis. In the same vein, commuters spend three times what it used to cost them to go to the island from the mainland.

Alternatively, motorists who do not want to spend long hours on traffic take to Third Mainland Bridge from places that are as close to Lagos Island as Surulere and Yaba to connect to the island which comes at a great cost to them in terms of time and money for fuelling their vehicles.

For many commuters, especially those who live in Apapa, the experience on Eko Bridge is an addition to their woes. “After the ‘wahala’ on Eko Bridge, one still has to face Apapa with all the trailers and tankers on its roads and bridges. It is particularly bad on weekends when many of these trucks find their way to the port city,” said Damilola Adefulire, who lives on the Island but works in Apapa.

“Living and working in this side of town is a huge challenge,” he said, adding, “this is torture and nobody seems to be minding what residents are going through, especially on this Eko Bridge.”