Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has spoken ahead of today’s partial closure of Third Mainland Bridge for the next six months.
This was coming as Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said 250 operatives would be deployed to work with 650 personnel of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to maintain traffic on Third Mainland Bridge and alternative routes.
The governor appealed to residents of the state to exercise patience and bear the discomfort that would be experienced from the six-month partial closure, explaining that the partial closure of the 11.8km bridge – the busiest in the state – was inevitable, following physical deterioration observed on the structure after an integrity test conducted by the Federal Government.
The closure of the bridge, Sanwo-Olu said, would bring about pain, but noted that the development was necessary to prevent disaster that may result from the total collapse of the infrastructure.
He promised that LASTMA officials would constantly be on the road with their federal counterparts to ensure seamless movement of vehicles during the period.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Thursday while receiving the new FRSC Sector Commander in Lagos, Olusegun Ogungbemide, during a courtesy visit at the State House in Marina.
Ogungbemide was accompanied on the visit by Lagos State Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Adeyinka Ayinla.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration has carried out improvement work on alternative routes mapped out for diversions, while observing that 25 per cent of vehicular movements on the Third Mainland Bridge would be disrupted during the closure.
According to him, “The partial closure of Third Mainland Bridge is not something that everybody should worry about, because this is an exercise that had been done before.
“For emphasis, the traffic disruption is only about 25 per cent of the regular traffic on the bridge. The 75 per cent of vehicles that normally ply the route will still have access to move on the bridge during the period of repair.
“We have furnished and improved the design of the alternative routes, and we are still working on other arterial routes so that our people can have seamless journey times to and from their places of work.
“So, there is nothing commuters should worry about in this period. We will ensure the repair work on Third Mainland Bridge does not overburden them. We will be deploying over 650 LASTMA officers on the road to control the traffic.”
In the period of closure, the governor said a lane of the bridge would be opened to traffic for vehicles driving inward Lagos Island in the morning, while other lane would be shut. The reverse would be done for vehicle driving inward Mainland in the afternoon, while other would be closed.
To further assuage the discomfort that may be experienced by commuters and ease the roads of gridlock, Sanwo-Olu said his administration has strengthened the state-owned Lagos Ferry Service (LAGFERRY) by doubling its capacity for mass movement, thereby giving the residents an alternative through water transportation.
“We are also urging the commuters to explore the option of waterways in their journey. The jetty built in Ilaje area of Bariga has been activated and we are deploying more speed boats to raise the capacity of our ferry service. This is to ensure that many people are not on road at the same time,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor said his administration remained committed to improving transportation in the state, noting that delivering efficiently run intermodal transportation system was an important component of his Government’s deliverables.
In his remarks, Ogungbemide said FRSC plays prominent roles in the smooth running of Lagos security architecture, pleading with the governor to integrate the agency into the state’s Security Council.
The FRSC boss assured Lagos residents of his readiness to introduce activities that would give road users pleasant experience, adding that 250 FRSC operatives would be deployed to work with LASTMA to maintain traffic on Third Mainland Bridge and alternative routes.
The complete repair work on the bridge is expected to take two years, out of which the carriageway would be closed to vehicles for six months.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has released alternative waterways routes for the commuting public due to the planned partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge from today.
LASWA, in a statement by its General Manager, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, noted that the agency has mapped out alternative routes through the waterways across Lagos metropolis.
He listed the waterways routes that would be available at peak periods (6:30-9am and 4:30-6pm) to include Ikorodu Terminal – Ebute-Ero, Addax Jetty (Sandfill), Five Cowries Terminal (Falomo); Ilaje Terminal – Ebute Ero – Five Cowries6 Terminal (Falomo), Addax Jetty (Sandfill) and Ilaje Terminal – Badore, Oke Ira Nla.
Others, according to him, are: Badore (Ajah) – Ijede (Ikorodu); CMS Marina – Apapa (Flour Mills, Liverpool); Ajah (Badore, Oke Ira Nla) – Addax Jetty (Sandfill) and Five Cowries Terminal (Falomo) among others.
While imploring Lagosians to take advantage of the opportunity provided by LASWA with the creation of alternative routes for commuters, he assured all passengers of their safety, noting that the modern passengers boats are built and equipped with new technology and monitored in real-time to ensure passenger safety at all times.
By Idowu Sowunmi