By Olasunkanmi Akoni
•As Dopemu Bridge cries for urgent intervention
As Lagos State Government intensify efforts in identifying and demolishing distressed buildings across the state, there are the growing concerns over the poor state of most of the bridges in the state, which have been left for so long without any consideration for rehabilitation and maintenance.
Recently, Lagos State Transport Management Authority LASTMA, alerted both the Federal and state governments on the need to effect immediate rehabilitation on Liverpool Bridge in Apapa which had been identified to be distressed, to avert disaster. Also, residents and motorists along Ketu, Iyana-Oworo axis, have called the attention of the state government to the Alapere-Ogudu Link Bridge which requires repairs at the distressed expansion joint on the bridge.
Though both distressed bridges-Alapere-Ogudu and Liverpool- had since been fixed, many more bridges have been identified for immediate rehabilitation. Also, two weeks ago, an alarm was raised over the distressed expansion joints on Eko Bridge, which is still awaiting intervention from Federal government..
However, last week, the cheering news broke on the first move to prevent the “catastrophe waiting to happen on Third Mainland Bridge”, when Minister of Information, Labaran Maku announced the approval of N290.745 million by President Goodluck Jonathan for a comprehensive underwater inspection of the bridge. Maku said the bridge’s integrity test, which would be conducted and completed within two months, was aimed at detecting areas on the bridge that needed maintenance.
Dopemu-Akowonjo Link Bridge alert
FOR residents, it is not yet “Uhuru” on repairs of bridges as fresh concern has been raised over Dopemu-Akowonjo Link Bridge along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, Lagos, following precarious state of some sections of the bridge. There is a fast disjointed expansion joint on the right side of the bridge when coming from Akowonjo to Dopemu, along Swipha Company which is capable of collapsing.
The side railings which could act as a stopper on both side had either been damaged by accident vehicles or removed by vandals.
The failed section vibrates whenever vehicle moves on it. “It is proper to say the bridge is unsafe.” Mr. Adeolu Alabi, a regular motorist along the axis said.
Alabi continued: “Hence, it requires comprehensive works to be carried out on the bridge which has been left for so many years without major maintenance work on it.
“There is need for the state government to visit the bridge and carry out a check on it to ascertain its stability. Therefore, the state government needs to come up with a holistic maintenance structure for all its bridges considering its status as one of the fastest growing megacities.”
One of the deadly cases that happened on the bridge was when a year old baby, her mother and a driver narrowly escaped death when their black Mitsubishi Montero Sports Utility Vehicle, SUV, fell off the Dopemu Bridge But the occupants of the SUV, the driver, Alex Stephen, Mrs. Adeyinka and her baby girl, one-year old Fadeyera Adeyinka, escaped unhurt. They were taken to a private hospital in Idimu, Lagos where they were treated for shock.
“The heavy traffic experienced daily on the Abeokuta-Oshodi Expressway can be minimised if the Dopemu Bridge that has a single lane is expanded to two lanes on both sides. All the vehicles going to Egbeda, Shasha, Ikotun and Badagry (just to mention a few) all ply this narrow bridge, thereby causing heavy hold-up even on Sundays. The authorities concerned should do something so that Nigerians using this bridge can enjoy a stress-free life.” – Yemi Saka