The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday thanked the Lagos State Government and residents for their patience during the ongoing repairs of the Third Mainland Bridge.
Fashola while inspecting the bridge also called for more understanding saying that the planned three days total closure was important for completion and delivery of a safe and strong bridge for use.
He said that from midnight of Friday to midnight of Sunday the bridge would be totally shut for important repairs to make the bridge last, but that the former normal diversions would return on Monday when the bridge would be reopened to partial traffic diversion.
He said that the bridge was one of the 50 nationwide, undergoing repairs in line with the national infrastructure maintenance programme and the national infrastructure renewal and expansion program of the Buhari administration.
“We have seen joints and bearings replacement at different stages. We have seen the ones that are being freshly drilled to be removed and replaced.
“We have seen the ones that have been replaced and ready to receive concrete.
“We have seen the ones that are being dirt sprayed to clean it up completely to ensure that when the concrete is put, there will be binding. We are now at the last one that has been dirt sprayed and ready to take concrete.
“All the work we have done will not make sense if we don’t pour this concrete and this is why regrettably we have to close this section of the bridge,” he said.
He explained the process of repairs stating that all efforts would be a waste without the most critical stage needing the three days closure for the concrete to properly ‘cure’.
“By Monday the diversions that you are used to will return, our work has not finished, we are going to finish this programme in January next year.
“It is is now important to protect the sections that have been finished so that our tolerance, our forbearance would not have been in vain so that when the work is done we will have almost a new bridge that will last very long, ” he said.
He said that more closures should be expected stating that joints were being done in phases to minimise the impact of gridlock.
The Minister stressed that the effort was worth the wait as the government tried to minimise the impact of gridlock.
Also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Works, Mr Frederick Oladeinde said during the three days closure Eko and Carter bridges would be open, as well as Murtala Mohammed Way through Oyingbo for those trying to link the Island.
He said that adequate Lagos State Traffic Management Authority staff had been adequately deployed to ensure free flow of traffic.
The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos Mr Olukayode Popoola explained the need to close the lane for three expansion joints sections to be cast between Adeniji Adele within 48 hours to set.
“From Adeniji Adele to Adekunle is the section we are closing, that is a distance of about 3.5 kilometers in length, so people can still use Adeniji Adele, they can also as well use Adekunle Ramp but you cannot connect to the Island neither can you connect to the mainland through the Third Mainland Bridge within that 48 hours of the total closure of the bridge,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Paulo Prono, Executive Director, Borini Prono explained technical details as well as technological procedures of ongoing repairs, while conducting the minister through surface and underneath constructions.
He also explained the logistics as well as the reason for working in phases on different stretches of the bridge.
It would be recalled that the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, which was going through series of repairs, was partially shut on July 24 for another round of rehabilitation works.
The repair is expected to last for six months with the construction divided into two phases of three months on each carriageway, starting with the Oworonsoki bound carriageway.
Traffic was partially diverted on a stretch of 3.5km where construction is ongoing between Adeniji Adeniji Ramp and Ebute Meta, while different time belts were allotted for traffic diversions on the bridge.
However, the Federal Government on Wednesday announced a three days total shut down of the bridge for special repairs.
The 11.8km bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland.
The bridge starts from Oworonshoki, which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island.
Constructed in 1990, the bridge was adjudged as the longest in Africa until 1996 when the Oct. 6 Bridge in Cairo, Egypt was completed.