Monday, July 2, 2012

Repairs On Third Mainland Bridge Postponed Indefinitely

• Motorists, Road Users Fear ‘Hard Times’ THE Federal Government may have indefinitely suspended the proposed repair work earlier scheduled to begin on the Third Mainland Bridge today, thus putting the controversy with the Lagos State officials over the matter to an abrupt but temporary end. Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Charles Nseobong Akpabio, yesterday disclosed in an interview with The Guardian that the postponement was intended to put more measures in place. Akpabio said there would be an all-stakeholders’ meeting later in the week to discuss a new take-off date. But, when The Guardian contacted the Lagos State
Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, he simply said he would not comment on the matter. Akpabio urged all motorists in the Lagos metropolis to go about their activities and wait for further information on the bridge repair. The FRSC had explained that traffic information would be communicated from time to time via Radio, Television, Newspapers and social media network. The repairs on the all-important Third Mainland Bridge was earlier scheduled to commence today and to end on November 6, 2012. The commission added that as the lead agency in traffic management in Nigeria, it had concluded plans to coordinate the various traffic agencies involved in the exercise. He noted that Section 15 of the FRSC Act 2007 clearly stipulated that the operation of the Corps should cover all public roads, adding that the Corps statutory responsibility is to control and enforce traffic regulations on public roads “as we did during the 2008 maintenance work on the Third Mainland Bridge.” But motorists yesterday decried what they referred to as “impending dreaded bad days for users of the Third Mainland Bridge.” A senior banker, Mr. Sunday Omoyiola said it would be “stress time for motorists and others working on the Island, as “no employer or manager would take any excuse simply because they are repairing the Third Mainland Bridge.” According to Mr. Omoyiola, those that have businesses on the Island “will come back late and wake up very early to get to work.” Time is money and since you will waste a lot of time on the road, you there is huge economic loss,” he said. Mr. Eugene Iyamah, Managing Director of Choice Ltd, a Lagos-based consultancy outfit, said although the measures being taken by the FRSC and other traffic agents would mitigate the negative impact motorists could face, they (the motorists) are bound to experience hard times once again. On how he plans to adapt to the changes, Iyamah said, as a self-employed user of the route, he would simply adjust his time to avoid the “rush hour,” especially as maintaining the regular schedule would see one “ramming” into the “chaotic period.” The retired banker, however, noted that the repair of the bridge is in the best interest of Nigerians given the strategic and socio-economic relevance of the bridge. Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State had, last week, expressed concerns over unilateral declaration of closure of the bridge by the FRSC, contending that the control of traffic by the FRSC is only restricted to trunk roads. “A trunk road by definition is a road that connects two states like Lagos Ibadan Expressway, that’s where the FRSC should be not within the territory of the municipality of a state but having said that, it is that encroachment of responsibility that might be responsible for the inadequate information,” Fashola explained. However, speaking during a joint press conference in Alausa, State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Obafemi Hamzat, his counterpart in Transport, Opeifa and Information and Strategy, Adeyemi Ibirogba, explained that there would be no closure, as earlier feared by residents, but diversion of traffic on the bridge. Diversion on the bridge was to occur between 12 midnight and 12:00 noon. In the morning, between 00:00am and 12:00noon, traffic will be diverted for those coming from Lagos Island to the mainland –– at Adeniji Adele, motorists are expected to divert to carter bridge and thereafter proceed to Iddo where the redistribution will take place –– while inward Lagos Island traffic diversion will commence from 12noon from Anthony-Oworonshoki inter change.

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