The Minister of Work and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said that high exchange rate and increasing cost of materials were among reasons the Third Mainland Bridge has to be repaired now.
Despite the investigative maintenance check in 2018, which revealed faulty expansion joints and bearings of the bridge, the minister said it repairs could not take place because most of the equipment and materials needed to fix it had to be ordered, manufactured and imported from abroad, hence the delay.
According to him, between then and now, foreign exchange had gone the other way and materials’ prices had also gone up, hence the need to fix the bridge now. “We just say there is no better time, let’s do it now and put this behind us.
We know it will come with some pains; there has been traffic, but it will be better,” the minister said. After much consideration, despite other road infrastructure such as Eko and Marine Bridges’ repairs and reconstruction of Apapa-Oshodi- Oworonshoki Expressway, Fashola said that government thought there was no better time to fix the Third Mainland Bridge than now.
The minister, who was on inspection tour of ongoing works on the bridge yesterday, said he had been in Abuja in the last five months due to the travel restriction placed as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. “Now that the restriction has been taken off, we have to work. We worked hard and planned for the best.
So, we are hoping for the best.” he said. He said he was in Lagos to lend support for his team on ground, who had been working in the last two weeks in preparation for the repair of the bridge. He pointed out that traffic management was being undertaken in a collaborative effort with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
Talking about effective traffic management to avert logjam, the minister explained that himself and his team had already reviewed the situation and the need to reduced traffic manpower capacity at the interchange points on the bridge.
He urged the traffic management team, FRSC and LASTMA, to direct their staff to the diversion points and all alternative routes, saying that; ‘these are where the pains are.’
“The pain is on the diversion points on the alternative routes and also accessing the bridge,” Fashola said, urging them to re-access their strategy and redeploy staff to guide motorists to the bridge, across it and to free up any obstruction from people.