The Federal Ministry of Works on Wednesday shut down the Apapa-bound lane of the beginning of Marine Bridge in Lagos, damaged by vandals, for the safety of the public.
A News Agency of Nigeria correspondent who visited the site of the collapsed portion of the bridge reports that a team of engineers from Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd used crash barriers to barricade the damaged portion of the deck on the pile bridge.
A deck on a pile is a bridge that does not have piers.
NAN observed that while the firm, and contractors handling Eko and Marine Bridge projects, did that, a combined team of traffic regulatory agencies managed traffic around the diversion.
The Police also supported the team.
The Assistant Director in charge of Federal Highways in Lagos State, Mrs Olukorede Keisha, upon arrival and re-evaluation of the infrastructure, ordered the total shutdown of the portion.
Keisha told NAN that the service lane of the deck on the pile bridge was damaged and caved in due to the activities of vandals.
She said the investigation revealed that the vandals had set a fire underneath the bridge to gain access to iron rods and other steel components under the bridge to be able to cut them off.
She said because the steel components of the bridge had been removed and stolen by the vandals, it caved in.
She said a thorough assessment revealed an urgent need to close the bridge to avert risk to motorists and other road users.
“On inspection, we discovered that the place was set on fire to expose the reinforcement for them to cut it off and that is what they have done.
“And the concrete alone without the tension cannot cope with the pressure. It needs to be assisted with reinforcement. Once reinforcement is taken away, concrete alone cannot do the job, hence the collapse.
“For overriding public safety, there is a need to shut it down immediately.
“We have looked at it, the contractor has critically assessed the situation. So, we are going back to the drawing board to evaluate it and look at the possible quick way to resolve it.
“But meanwhile, we are going to close this and divert traffic to alternative routes,” she said.
Keisha, who arrived at the scene at about 3.03 p.m. with a team of engineers, engaged the head of the LASTMA and FRSC teams on an urgent traffic architecture for the closure and diversion of vehicles.
She told NAN that traffic would be diverted through Costain and the Lagos Island-bound portion of the Marine Bridge as alternative routes.
Keisha appealed to road users to be patient as the Federal Government was doing everything humanly possible to quickly fix the damaged portion.
She said an urgent proposal was being prepared for immediate dispatch to the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, assuring them that repairs would begin almost immediately.
She appealed to Lagos residents to take ownership of roads and other public infrastructure to protect them against vandalism.
She said the hardship caused by the activities of vandals usually impacted negatively on all residents of the state, hence the need for vigilance to stop miscreants from damaging public infrastructure.
“We have to take all public utilities as if it is ours,” she said.
She said that the road caved in on Tuesday evening and the contractor was immediately mobilised to the site to begin an investigation towards quick solutions.
NAN reports that the traffic regulatory agencies allowed vehicles that were already on the Carter Bridge to be evacuated through the earlier diversion created.
They then totally closed the approach of the Apapa-bound lane of the Marine Bridge located near Ijora Olopa, adjacent to the Lagos State Water Corporation.
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