The Lagos State Government has assured Lagosians of minimal burden as it partially closes the 3rd Mainland Bridge for repairs for six months.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance on Thursday while receiving the new Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Lagos, Olusegun Ogungbemide, on a courtesy visit at the State House, Marina.
The FRSC chief was accompanied on the visit by the Lagos Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Adeyinka Ayinla.
Mr Sanwo-Olu appealed to residents to exercise patience and bear the discomfort that would be experienced from the partial closure, which would begin on Friday evening.
He said that the closure of the 11.8km bridge – the busiest in the country – was inevitable, following physical deterioration observed on the structure, after an integrity test conducted by the Federal Government.
According to him, the closure of the bridge will bring about pain, but the development is necessary to prevent disaster that may result from the total collapse of the infrastructure.
He promised that men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would constantly be on the road with their Federal counterparts to ensure seamless movement of vehicles during the period.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the state government had carried out improvement work on alternative routes mapped out for diversions.
He said that vehicular movements on the Third Mainland Bridge would be disrupted by 25 per cent of its regular traffic.
”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,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor said that in the period of closure, a lane of the bridge would be opened to traffic for vehicles driving inward Lagos Island in the morning, while other other lane would be shut.
He said that the reverse would be done for vehicle driving inward Mainland in the afternoon, while other would be shut.
To further assuage the discomfort that may be experienced by commuters and ease the roads of gridlock, Mr Sanwo-Olu said the state had strengthened the State-owned Lagos Ferry Service (LAGFERRY).
He said the state government had doubled the capacity of LAGFERRY for mass movement, thereby giving the residents an alternative through water transportation.
”We are also urging 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 speedboats to raise the capacity of our ferry service. This is to ensure that many people are not on road at the same time,” the governor said.
He said that his administration remained committed to improving transportation in the state, as delivering efficiently run intermodal transportation system was an important component of his government’s deliverables.
Mr Sanwo-Olu welcomed the FRSC Sector Commander to Lagos, assuring him of the state government’s readiness to work with the federal safety agency.
Responding, Mr Ogungbemide said the FRSC played prominent roles in the smooth running of Lagos security architecture.
He pleaded with the governor to integrate the agency into the state’s Security Council.
The FRSC boss assured Lagos residents of his readiness to engage activities that would give road users pleasant experience.
He said that 250 FRSC operatives would be deployed to work with LASTMA to maintain traffic on Third Mainland Bridge and alternative routes.
The head of NSCDC, Mr Ayinla said that men of the corps were ready to provide adequate security for motorists and commuters 24hrs.
The complete repair work on the bridge is expected to take two years, out of which the carriageway will be closed to vehicles for six months. (NAN)