The Federal Government has declared the Eko Bridge in Lagos State unsafe for motorists and has shut it for repairs.
The Controller of Works, Lagos, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Adedamola Kuti, declared the bridge unsafe on Wednesday.
As a result of the failure of some sections of the bridge, particularly the expansion joints and bearings, a decision was taken to close it from the Alaka end to the Costain end in order to prevent calamities.
Kuti, who noted that the bridge was constructed in the 1970s, said it was no longer safe for use as the bearings and expansion joints at the closed sections were broken and the bridge could not stand firm.
He stated, “We just discovered that the bearings on the Eko Bridge are gone. “The bearings are broken and we are having a problem with the bridge deck. As a matter of fact, the bridge is no longer safe for public use.
“So, we need to carry out a detailed investigation and make an assessment of the bearings; after that, we will be able to give you further information on what we can do. But for now, the bridge is not safe for public use.
“So, it was shut down in the early hours of today (Wednesday) to allow for a detailed investigation before we can allow members of the public to make use of it.”
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a visit to the bridge, said it was imperative to close the defective sections to ensure the safety of residents and motorists using the bridge.
He urged motorists using the bridge to be patient and obey traffic officers as they divert traffic to alternative routes, adding that the state’s Ministry of Transportation would ensure that traffic rules were obeyed.
The governor stated, “I want to reiterate and assure Lagosians that both the Lagos State Government and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing will get to work very quickly and we will see how quickly we can remedy the current situation.
“The bridges in Lagos were not built to bear dead weight. The bridges are not designed for all the heavy trucks and containers that park on them.
“We will go back to our Ministry of Transportation and do a full traffic impact assessment and we will see how we can advise our commuters on how to go about their vehicular movement just as we provide adequate alternatives.”
An inter-ministerial technical team comprising officials of the federal and state ministries of Works and Infrastructure, Transportation, the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority had earlier visited the bridge for an on the spot assessment.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, who was part of the team, said it became necessary to close a section of the bridge in order not to endanger the lives of commuters using it.
She stated that despite the inconveniences that might arise from the closure, the government had resolved to immediately close it to prevent a situation that could lead to the loss of lives in the event that the worn-out sections give way.
A travel advisory issued by the state government stated, “Motorists have been advised to use alternative routes announced by the Lagos State Government for those heading for Lagos Island from the Funsho Williams Avenue through Iponri to Costain, connecting Eko Bridge through the National Theatre entry point.
“Motorists can also pass from Bode Thomas to Eric Moore Road and connect Abebe Village (Nigerian Breweries) to Costain and link their destinations through the National Theatre to the Eko Bridge.
“Other alternative routes provided are from the National Stadium to connect Shitta roundabout, onward to Adeniran Ogunsanya Road, Bode Thomas, Eric Moore to Abebe Village (Nigerian Breweries) and Costain to link destinations through the Eko Bridge. Motorists from Ojuelegba are also advised to ply Tejuoso to Yaba, Murtala Mohammed Way to Oyingbo, Iddo-Otto to the Idumota Bridge or the Carter Bridge, and connect their destinations.
“Motorists from the Agege Motor Road or Ikorodu Road should drive through Jibowu to connect the Herbert Macaulay Way to Adekunle and the Third Mainland Bridge to the Lagos Island and other destinations.”