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Eko Bridge: Motorists suffer as FG assures emergency repairs

Eko Bridge: One more month of suffering for motorists as FG dithers

Motorists on Eko Bridge have been going through harrowing driving expiring since March 23, 2022 when a section of the bridge at Apongbon in Lagos Island was burnt by fire, leading to the closure of that stretch of the bridge to traffic.

Eko Bridge is a strategic link between the Island and Mainland areas of Lagos. It has, therefore, been a daily dose of pain for motorists commuting to work or home from the island to the mainland and vice versa.

But the federal government says emergency repair work has already commenced on the damaged bridge, citing the strategic importance of the bridge to Lagos motoring public.

Though the federal controller of works in Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, who gave this assurance, did not state specifically when or how many days it would take to complete the repair work and reopen the bridge, he assured that it would be reopened “soon.”

There are indications that the bridge might not be reopened anytime soon, judging from the controller’s revelation that the integrity tests results on the bridge were still being awaited, even though “a contractor had moved to site for emergency repair work.”

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“Samples were taken from the bridge five days after the inferno and sent to materials testing laboratory for analysis; the test will reveal the extent of damage and repairs to be done,” the controller noted, stressing that “because of the importance of this section of the bridge to Lagosians, the Federal Government considers it as an emergency.”

The controller noted that though the fund for the repair was not yet in the budget, the minister for Works and Housing had to look for a way to solve the problem so that the section of the bridge that was closed to traffic would be opened immediately.

Part of the solution, according to him, was to move the contractor working on Eko Bridge to the burnt Akpongbon Bridge which was not part of what the contractor was engaged to do. “But because it is an emergency, the contractor had to be moved here to start the repair work,” he added.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Nigerian Institution of Highway and Transportation Engineers (NIHTE) was at the burnt section of the bridge a couple of days ago for an on-the-spot assessment with a view to advising the government on what to do.

Ayotunde Ogunnoiki, chairman of the Lagos Branch of NSE, said that the society was alarmed at the level of damage under the bridge but would wait for the result of integrity tests before drawing conclusions.

He said the visit was both an industrial and technical one, stressing that there was an urgent need for the rehabilitation of the bridge because of the high vehicular volume on that axis.