Affirm no closure during peak periods
Urge motorists to obey traffic regulations
By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Kingsley Adeboye
As contractor commences repair works on the Third Mainland Bridge today, Friday, July 24, 2020, with attendant partial closure, the Federal and Lagos State Governments have allayed the fear of possible traffic gridlock and tension among road users during the period.
The partial closure, slated to commence midnight, is to allow for repairs on faulty expansion joints of the bridge due to old age, scheduled to last for six months.
Speaking at an inter-ministerial press briefing on Friday by the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Infrastructure and the Information and Strategy counterpart in Alausa, Ikeja, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, reiterated that motorists need not entertain any anxiety or fear but should cooperate with traffic officers in order to enhance a smooth and hitch-free movement.
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Frederic Oladeinde, said there was the need to carry out repairs of the expansion joints of the bridge to ensure the safety of the motorists.
He added that “Lagosians need not be worried about the closure because 75 per cent section of the road will not be affected.”
The commissioner stated further that alternative routes are already in place for the 25 per cent section affected by the road.
He appealed to motorists to give maximum cooperation to the traffic officers that would be deployed to put the situation under control, saying “they are to work for 24 hours within the period.”
The Special Adviser to the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, also assured motorists of seamless movement, adding that 10 alternative routes identified had been rehabilitated and ready for use throughout the duration of the project.
Some of the routes include Herbert Macaulay, sectional patching from Carter Bridge to Oyingbo, Makoko junction, Murtala Muhammed Way, Jibowu under bridge inward Yaba, Apapa Road, Costs on the roundabout, African/Abule NLA Road, connecting Funsho Williams, among others.
On the Lagos- Abeokuta Expressway, Adeyoye stated that rehabilitation of the Abule-Egba-Toll Gate route of the road is being delayed due to the procurement process.
Responding to questions on the step to address the deplorable state of the road, she said: “Funding for the road (Abule-Egba-Toll Gate) is available but we can’t jump the procurement process, the Minister of Works and Housing has given that assurance.”
“As a state, the government feels the pain of the residents along the axis but we can not carry out the rehabilitation because we are not sure of reimbursement.”
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka said the 650 Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) would do the major job, adding that other officers would be on the roads to complement.
“The officers have been retrained for this exercise. They are to ensure that the free flow of traffic is not jeopardized,” said Fayinka.
The General Manager LASTMA, Mr. Olajide Oduyoye said, “this is not the time for the officers to arrest offenders for minor traffic infractions” because of the ongoing repair of the Bridge.
He stated, “Though LASTMA officers have been ordered against the arrest of motorists for minor traffic infractions, however, it is the responsibility of every Lagosian to deal with the traffic on the roads by not compounding traffic hiccups and follow directives by traffic officers.
“The traffic laws remain, motorists should do their best not to violate it.”
Also speaking on the Technical Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Enforcement Coordination, who was also a Commissioner for Transportation in the state, Mr. Kayode Opeifa allayed the fears of commuters about the likely traffic congestion that will result from the closure.
He went down memory lane to recall about four instances when the Third Mainland Bridge had been shut for repairs and the exercise was handled without hitches, adding that with many alternative routes put in good condition and access to information on various media outlets, including Traffic Radio and Google Maps, timing one’s travel time has become improved.
Opeifa maintained that with the level of preparedness by the Federal and Lagos State governments, there will be no other reason for congestion except the unruliness of motorists who refuse to cooperate with traffic management personnel.
He cautioned that the first two weeks of the closure could be challenging to motorists as panicky road users will cluster the road at the same time to beat the traffic but this will fizzle out as motorists will adjust to the new routes.
He gave an assurance that with cooperation and compliance with LASTMA, FRSC and other traffic management agencies, the period of closure will not be cumbersome for motorists and other road users.
The representatives of the state government, after a closed-door meeting with its federal counterpart and other security agencies and stakeholders at the Federal Ministry of Works Office, Race Course, Lagos, later conducted a simulation of the exercise on the bridge at Adeniji Adele ramp, outward Island end of the road.
Speaking with newsmen after the simulation, Federal Controller of Works, South West, Engr. Adedamola Kuti reiterated the state government’s assurance of the free flow of traffic during the execution of the project.
According to Kuti, “The much talked about maintenance work on Third Mainland Bridge and the partial closure, takes effect from 12 midnight today ((Friday), July 24, 2020.
“The traffic will be very simple. It’s going to be done off-peak period. The traffic in the morning, from 12 midnight to 12 noon, traffic coming inward Island from Mainland will have free access all the way. The maintenance work is on the mainland bound section for the first three months of the first phase.
“The stretch where we need to fix the expansion joints will be from Adeniji Adele up to Ebute Metta end of the road.
“In the afternoon, vehicles coming from Island to the mainland will be diverted at Ilubirin junction to access the Carter Bridge and from their motorists can either go through Ijora Olopa, or Eko Bridge or continue on Iddo Bridge to Oyingbo and Adekunle end.
“Between the hours of 12 noon to 12 midnight returning vehicles from the Island going towards the mainland, they will be diverted at Adeniji Adele junction into another side of the bridge which they came in the morning because repair works will be going on the mainland bound axis. They will be diverted up to Ebute Metta at Adekunle junction. At that point they will be diverted back to the normal lane, inward mainland to continue their journey.
“Similarly, in the noon, vehicles coming in from Ebute Metta can still do under the bridge to join the mainland bound route. Third Mainland Bridge will be available for traffic at peak periods, both in the morning and the evenings.
“So the other vehicles that will be making use of the road at off-peak period will have to make use of alternative routes.”