The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, thanked the Lagos state government and residents on Thursday for their patience during the ongoing repairs of the third continental bridge.
Fashola, while inspecting the bridge, also called for further understanding, saying that the planned three-day total closure was important to the completion and delivery of a safe and strong bridge for use.
He said that from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday the bridge would be fully closed for major repairs to make the bridge last, but that the old normal detours would return on Monday when the bridge would reopen to partially divert traffic.
He said the bridge was one of 50 nationwide, under repair under the Buhari administration’s national infrastructure maintenance program and the Buhari administration’s national infrastructure renovation and expansion program.
“We have seen the replacement of gaskets and bearings in different stages. We have seen the ones that are freshly drilled to be removed and replaced.
“We have seen those that have been replaced and ready to receive concrete.
“We have seen those who are being sprinkled with dirt to clean them completely and ensure that when the concrete is placed, it gets stuck. We are now at the last one that has been sprinkled with dirt and ready to take concrete.
“All the work we have done will be meaningless if we do not pour this concrete and that is why we unfortunately have to close this section of the bridge,” he said.
He explained the repair process by stating that all efforts would be wasteful without the most critical stage needing a three-day closure for the concrete to “cure” properly.
“By Monday the detours you are used to will return, our work is not over, we are going to finish this program in January next year.
“Now it is important to protect the sections that have been completed so that our tolerance, our patience would not have been in vain so that when the work is done we will have almost a new bridge that will last a long time,” he said. .
He said more closures should be expected indicating that the joints were being done in phases to minimize the impact of the jam.
The minister emphasized that the effort was worth waiting for as the government tried to minimize the impact of the stagnation.
Additionally, the Lagos State Commissioner of Works, Mr. Frederick Oladeinde, said that during the three days of closure the Eko and Carter bridges will be open, as well as Murtala Mohammed Way through Oyingbo for those trying to unite the island.
He said that adequate staff from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority had been adequately deployed to ensure the free flow of traffic.
The federal controller of works in Lagos, Mr. Olukayode Popoola, explained the need to close the lane for three sections of expansion joints that will melt between Adeniji Adele within 48 hours to set.
“From Adeniji Adele to Adekunle is the section that we are closing, it is a distance of about 3.5 kilometers in length, so people can still use Adeniji Adele, they can also use Adekunle Ramp but you cannot connect to the island or you connect to the mainland via the third continental bridge within 48 hours of the bridge’s full closure, ” he said.
In addition, Mr. Paulo Prono, Executive Director of Borini Prono, explained the technical details, as well as the technological procedures of the ongoing repairs, while driving the minister through the surface constructions and below.
He also explained the logistics as well as the reason for working in phases on different sections of the bridge.
It should be remembered that the third continental bridge in Lagos, which was undergoing a series of repairs, was partially closed on July 24 for another round of rehabilitation works.
The repair is expected to take six months with construction divided into two three-month phases on each carriageway, beginning with the carriageway bound for Oworonsoki.
Traffic was partially diverted over a 3.5 km stretch where construction is ongoing between the Adeniji Adeniji ramp and Ebute Meta, while different time belts were allocated for traffic diversions on the bridge.
However, the federal government announced Wednesday a full three-day closure of the bridge for special repairs.
The 11.8 km bridge is the longest of the three bridges that connect Lagos Island to the mainland.
The bridge begins at Oworonshoki, which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi Highway and the Lagos-Ibadan Highway and ends at the Adeniji Adele interchange on Lagos Island.
Built in 1990, the bridge was considered the longest in Africa until 1996, when the October 6 bridge was completed in Cairo, Egypt.