Residents of Lagos mainland who work or do business on the Island have been narrating their experiences following the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge for maintenance.
The federal government had announced plans to shut down the bridge for maintenance work from July 24, 2020 to January 24, 2021.
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Users of the bridge said it had been hellish commuting between the mainland and the Island since the repairs began as they have been spending more time and more money to get to their destinations due to heavy traffic.
A resident in mainland Alagbado, Akinwunmi Remilekun, who said he works on the Island, told our reporters yesterday that his transport fare had tripled, while it had been taking him, at least, four hours to get to work every day, a journey that was normally only an hour.
“I reside at Alagbado and I leave home as early as 4am, but I sometimes get to my place of work at about 10am. It is really tiring but it is better today (yesterday) because it is food market day. By tomorrow (today), the whole place will be blocked again,” he said.
A banker, Mr Musiliudeen Adedeji, told our reporters that he had been going to work through Yaba, from where he linked the Third Mainland Bridge. “The situation has not been easy, particularly on non-essential market days, but it is less stressful on food market days,” he said.
A commercial vehicle owner in Oshodi said the high cost of transportation was not due to the closure of the bridge but as a result of the directive from the Lagos State government that four passengers that used to sit on a chair be replaced with two. As such, the N200 transportation fare to Obalende from Oshodi became N500.
Another resident on the mainland, Michael Gboyega, working on the Island, said, “I don’t think this is the best time to renovate the bridge because the alternative route is only 20 percent ready. The Fadeyi-Ojuelagba-Stadium road inward the bridge that links to the Island has been on lockdown from Alaka bridge since February. The ongoing construction of the Costain bridge has been stopped without completing the second side. Costain to Oyingbo is the alternative route to the Island and there is always heavy traffic there,” Gboyega lamented.
He advised that an urgent action be taken on the Alaka-Costain bridge, saying the trucks parking on the Apapa road should be relocated to ease traffic.
Road users have also decried the rising cases of traffic robbery on the bridge. A trader, Mr Chinemerem, said his friend was robbed on the bridge last Saturday after his car was smashed by hoodlums.
A twitter user, @SomtoSocial, said, “Robbery reports on Third Mainland Bridge are true. Robbers are smashing windows and gaining access to cars. Relevant authorities please take note.”
The Lagos State government has, however, assured users of the bridge of minimal burden, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu appealing to residents to exercise patience and bear the discomfort that would be experienced due the partial closure.
Sanwo-Olu explained that the closure of the 11.8km bridge was inevitable, following physical deterioration observed on the structure, after an integrity test conducted by the federal government.