Olukayode Popoola, federal controller of works, Lagos, on Friday, warned the public to avoid the Lagos Airport road flyover in the aftermath of the petroleum tanker fire underneath the flyover on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
The flyover which runs over Toyota Bus Stop on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, linking the airport road, was engulfed by fire when a petrol tanker conveying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, burst into flames on Thursday.
Popoola said the federal ministry of works and housing would be conducting an integrity test to ascertain the structural safety of the flyover, and pending this, the motoring public should stay off the bridge.
He stated this during a joint inspection of the bridge by the federal and Lagos State governments on Friday to ascertain the extent of damage done.
According to him, debris of the damage bridge has been taken for analysis to be able to ascertain the level of damage and where to carry out repairs.
Popoola said that 200 meters of the rigid pavement of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway reconstruction project, being carried by the Dangote Group, was burnt.
He added that the deck of the flyover was burnt and its pier badly damaged, raising fears of structural instability of the bridge.
The controller said that the bridge was barricaded after the fire because of safety concerns, regretting that the barriers were removed at night.
Popoola warned that there would be risks in using the bridge.
“We are taking some samples to go and analyse before we know the structural stability, but physically, a lot of damage has been done to this pier of the bridge. The integrity is already compromised. “Yesterday the road was barricaded but in the night, some people went and removed the barricade.
“We are advising that members of the public should not take the risk of using this bridge,” he said.
The federal controller of works explained that about 200 meters of the bridge deck as well as the pavement of Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway being reconstructed was affected by the inferno. He added that one of the piers – pillars of the bridge – was badly burnt, making the ministry unsure of the structural integrity and safety of the bridge.
The outcome of tests, he said, would determine the appropriate action on the flyover. According to him, the Federal Highway Act empowers the federal ministry of works and housing to prosecute whoever causes damage to assets of the Federal Government.
“This Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway project is ongoing, and we have not even completed it. Now, due to carelessness of drivers, this fire occurred, and you can see the level of the damage.
“The pavement that we have spent a lot of money, up to 200 meters – have been affected; that will cost a lot of money,” he said.
Aramide Adeyoye, special adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on works and infrastructure, said that the state government would embark on strict enforcement of road worthiness regulation.
She disclosed that concerned agencies of the state government would begin to enter depots and loading bays for petrol tankers to ensure that those not roadworthy are not allowed to lift petroleum products.
“Oftentimes, they claim that the roads are bad. What do you say about this one now that the road is very good, there is no pothole anywhere,” she said.
She called for attitudinal change. She said that fires caused by tanker accidents had caused much hardship on road users, urging that road unworthy trucks should stop coming into Lagos State.