…Extends under the bridges evacuation till June 19,
By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola,has seek the support of stakeholder’s as rehabilitation work begins in Lagos .
Fashola made the appeal at a stakeholders meeting on comprehensive repair of Eko and Apongbon bridges, held at Ijora-Olopa, in Lagos , recently.
“We are appealing for your maximum understanding and cooperation over the discomfort that would be experience during rehabilitation works on some bridges in Lagos state “.
The minister at an interactive session, explained that several portions of Eko Bridge are worn out due to years of neglect, that is why the interventions is ongoing now .
He said federal government was tackling the problem holistically, and needed all hands must be on deck for smooth operations.
We need the help of ministries and local government to also help us create awareness for people to know that we all have roles to play during rehabilitation works.
The minister appealed to representatives of the truck operators to encourage their members to build truck parks.
He urged them not to always resort to”subtle threats or blackmail” each time issues of their excesses constituting public nuisance were pointed out.
Fashola said that the colossal damage to Apongbon Bridge was being addressed by the contractors on the project.
He also extended the evacuation ultimatum to the encroachers under the bridges till June 19, appealing that they comply voluntarily to avert use of force.
The Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Saneo-Olu represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Olowoshago Kamal,promised collaboration for speedy completion of the rehabilitation works.
Also speakingDirector, Highways, Bridges and Design, Oluropo Oyetode, said 20 bearings had been changed on the 4.1km Eko Bridge.
“The bridge, which links Lagos Mainland with Island, has 12 ramps.
“We have 1,732 bridges nationwide, from which Lagos has 105 and fourth in ranking, after Taraba , Niger and CrossRiver.
“Out of 105 bridges, we have intervened in 23, with 10 completed, 11 ongoing and two new contracts in 2022 budget. The new ones are Carter Bridge and Iganmu,” he said.
The Director said that the first phase of emergency repair of Eko Bridge was carried out in June 2020, during which another set of defects were noticed.
“This, led to another contract award for Phase II in September 2020.
“Again, more defects showed up and Honourable Minister now directed for a holistic review of the whole bridge.
“These took all Directors of Highways months to accomplish and culminated in award of Comprehensive Maintenance of Eko Bridge in February 2022,” Oyetode stated.
The Managing Director, Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd, George Mhanna gave a breakdown of the schedule for rehabilitation works on Eko and Apongbon bridges.
He said that the rehabilitation would be done in categories, prioritising the worst sections.
Meanwhile, The Chairperson of Apapa Local Government, Mrs Idowu Senbanjo said that taders of a popular fish market and truck operators were insisting on remaining under the bridges and on roads.
She said this was because of promises they claimed government made to them, expressing concern on how to evict them.
Stakeholders in attendance include representatives of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) transport companies, Apapa Local Government officials and traffic regulatory agencies, Top officials of the Federal Ministry of Works, the Permanent Secretaries of the Lagos State Ministries of Environment, Transportation and Office of Infrastructure, alongside their directors and many others .