FG, LASG, adopt measures against gridlock, agree on project timelines

By Grace Alegba

The Federal and Lagos State Governments, on Thursday, at an interactive meeting in Lagos, brainstormed on how to ease gridlock around various construction zones causing hardship on road users.

They also agreed on timelines for completion of the ongoing rehabilitation of Eko Bridge, Marine Bridge in Apapa, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Outer Marina repairs and other projects.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr Umar Bakare led officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and project engineers to the meeting.

The Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye led the Lagos team which included the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederick Oladeinde.

The Permanent Secretary Office of Infrastructure, Mr Olufemi Daramola and top engineers from the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure were also in attendance.

After trading blames, the federal and state government delegations resolved to step up further collaboration to achieve better flow of traffic around construction zones.

The parties secured the commitment of the contractors handling Eko Bridge that the project would be completed in May while the Marine Bridge in Apapa would be delivered in June.

They also resolved to visit all the construction sites at a weekend for on-the-spot assessment of rehabilitation works.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr Umar Bakare gave a detailed history of the Eko Bridge project which was awarded in March 2022.

Bakare said after the award for maintenance, two more sections of the bridge were razed by fire caused by human activities which was why contractors were working on both Apongbon and Ijora portions.

He explained how construction materials meant for initial repairs were moved for emergency interventions on newly damaged sections, insisting the repairs were necessary to avert collapse and loss of lives.

Speaking on section one of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, he gave details on progress of construction as well as challenges on some difficult portions that needed underground engineering works.

Umar said the most difficult sections were left to the last phase of construction to reduce hardship, adding that, the contractors were also racing to complete construction before the rainy season fully sets in.

He said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration approved several projects in Lagos and appealed to road users to be patient as measures were put in place to ease movement.

The Controller said contractors were working simultaneously on three sections on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for speedy completion in mid May, 2023.

“We stepped down some of the construction works to reduce hardship,” he said.

He also explained space constraints around diversion points and efforts to expand outer road shoulders for further expansion of lanes around construction zones to reduce congestion.

He also gave brief explanations on the Third Mainland Bridge and other ongoing projects.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Oladeinde, explained that he was losing sleep over hardship experienced by road users, hence the need for urgent measures against gridlock.

Oladeinde said multiple constructions going on at the same time was causing stress, anger and frustration to road users.

“People feel that we have abadoned them,” he said.

Oladeinde stressed the need to expand diversion points around OPIC on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to accommodate vehicles turning into estates on the axis.

He insisted that the Federal Ministry of Works had in the past given him impossible parameters to work with, hence the need for review.

The Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, reeled out measures that could be adopted and insisted on timelines for completion of ongoing projects.

Adeyoye lamented the affliction road infrastructure abuse had caused Lagos residents  while appealing for attitudinal change to curb vandalism and damage to roads and bridges.

Mr Anthony Mehanna, Managing Partner, Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd contractors handling, Eko and Marine Bridges repairs, said the bridges built in the 60s were neglected and nearing collapse before the award.

While making graphic presentation, he gave technical details on staggered repairs on various sections starting with the most critical portions of the bridges.

“We attacked the most critical sections to avert collapse,” he said.

Mehanna recalled that the fires at Apongbon and Ijora sections of Eko Bridge further delayed engineering procedures and expectations on the project.

Mr Kaadi Ghassan, Project Coordinator, Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd, assured the people that materials needed for completion of Eko Bridge had been imported.

Ghassan, however, raised alarm over vandalism and theft of construction materials on project sites of both Eko and Marine Bridges.

He said further measures to protect the materials sometimes led to delays in getting some components to site, while some already installed ones were being stolen by vandals. (NAN)