Eko Bridge: Be patient with us; we feel your pains — FG tells motorists

The federal government has appealed to motorists on Eko Bridge in Lagos to be patient as it continues repair work on the damaged portion of Apongbon Bridge which is the reason for the traffic congestion on Eko Bridge and motorists’ suffering that is becoming, increasingly, unbearable.

Forosola Oloyede, an engineer, and Acting Controller of Works in Lagos, who made this appeal on Wednesday in a telephone conversation with BusinessDay, also told the motorists and sundry road users that the government was also feeling their pains on that bridge.

“We are appealing to the motorists in particular who spend hours commuting on that bridge to be patient with us; we feel their pains because we are also in it; we commute through that bridge too, so we know what the suffering there is.

“But we need to do the work and do it very well. If you go there now, you will see we are done with the columns (pillars); we need to do other aspects of the work caused by the fire incident; we also need to replace the bearings. All these will take time. We don’t want to do it half way. It is better we take our time and do it once and for all. So, let’s just bear the pain once and for all too. We are looking at the next six months to get the work done,” the Acting Controller assured.

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In the last three months, driving experience on Eko Bridge, a major route to Lagos Island from the Mainland, has been stressful. Suffering for everybody who has anything to do on the island has been deep. With the rains, it is intensifying as, frequently, vehicular movement comes to a standstill.

Descending the small bridge that links Eko Bridge to Outer Marina, leading to CMS bus-stop, just on the approach of Apongbon Bridge, is a nightmare. This has been made worse by the flooded end of the bridge that stretches towards the UBA roundabout. Small vehicles cannot navigate the heavy flood.

“This is what we see here on a daily basis. This is not a flash flood so it does not disappear quickly. It is only big vehicles like this and coaster buses that go through this route. No small vehicle will try it,” the driver of the LT 300 bus that carried this reporter from Mile 2 to Lagos Island on Thursday, noted in anger.

The driver who declined a request by this reporter to disclose his name said he was angry, not with the federal government, but with Lagos State government which, according to him, “is pretending as if it does not know that people are suffering on that bridge.”

“They are busy playing politics while the country is burning. This is just the suffering on the road. Go home and you meet greater suffering. There is no light and no petrol for your generator because that too has become another diesel or gas,” said a passenger, talking to nobody in particular.

The anonymous passenger wondered why it was taking so long for the repair work to be completed.

When Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, came to inspect the burnt bridge along with other bridges in Lagos, he assured that the government would soon complete repair work that had already started. But no timeline was given by the minister and he said this about two months ago.