Politics

Third mainland bridge will be closed for only three days, not 27 months-Fashola

The third main land bridge in Lagos will be shut down for three days, starting from
July 27, the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said.

He said this on Monday while addressing some confusion over the period for the road
closure.

According him, the bridge will only be closed for three days, contrary to reports
that it will be closed for 27 months.

“I think somebody mistook the date 27th of July for 27 months, I don’t know how that
came about but there was a signed statement from my office and it didn’t contain 27
months”.

The 3-day closure according to him, will enable the contractors assess the true
state of the road, after which repair works will commence by the end of the year or
at the start of next year (2019).

The minister also noted that the closure would have come much earlier, but the
government decided to wait until schools begin to go on vacation, in order to reduce
the amount of traffic on the roads.

“The statement we put out was that it was going to be closed for three days, from
the 27th of July.

“We were torn between maintenance and safety and people’s convenience but
essentially, the first three days at the end of this month as issued in our press
statement, will be for investigative work to be conducted to assess the current
condition.

“There is a procurement for maintenance that has been approved but between that time
and now, some things may have changed so we wanted to do an examination again just
to be sure that there has been no material deterioration beyond what we procured.

“After that, our engineers and contracting firms will then lay out the plan of works.

“Some of the equipment and materials have to be imported, either later in the year
or early next year, then we will be able to start the repair.

“That will imminently compel some closure as we have had in the past when I was
governor. We closed it for about 12 weeks but (this time) we will try to reduce the
period of closure as much as possible,” he said.

Having been constructed since the last 30 years, there are fears that the bridge
which usually has high vehicular traffic, could collapse, if is not properly
maintained.

The former governor, therefore stressed the importance of the closure for the said
investigation and subsequently, the repairs to be carried out.

According to him, the government years ago, had commenced the maintenance process
but was unable to complete it because of cuts in the budget.

However, he says despite the inconveniences it may bring about, it has become highly
necessary to do the needful now.

“This is a choice between people’s safety ultimately. That bridge must not collapse,
and it needs maintenance. It has been built now for about 30 something years.

“If you recall, the maintenance that was done at the time wasn’t completed because
the budget was cut. That was why they now did it in phases, so, we are back to what
we should have done before.

“It is costing more, but it needs to be done,” he said.

On the time frame for which the repairs will eventually be completed, he said he
could not ascertain that until the 3-day investigation is concluded.

“The first 3 days is what I can speak of now. At the end of this, we will come back
to the members of the public and say to you definitively, based on the outcome of
what we get from this assessment, how long it is going to take.

“I’m not in a position to say that now until that report comes back to us but what
will happen at the end of July is three days”.

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