By Abiola PETERS.
The usual brisk business witnessed during Yuletide at Apongbon will not happen this year because of the ongoing repairs of that section of the Eko bridge damaged by inferno on March 20 this year.
The delivery date of the bridge earlier fixed for December this year has been extended to May next year because of the emergency repair of Ijora Olopa section of the bridge which was also engulfed on the fourth of this month.
To this end, the Federal and Lagos State governments have declared a zero tolerance to further occupation of bridges in the state for residential and trading purposes which have been linked to the two fire incidents.
At a news conference at the Works Yard in Constain, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said the fire incidents were as a result of illegal activities of a few which could have led to collapse of the bridge and possibly claim lives.
Mr Fashola expressed dismay over the untold traffic bottlenecks caused by the unavoidable closure of the bridge.
He added that the resources meant for comprehensive maintenance of the four point one kilometre bridge, have been cut short because of the two fire incidents at Apongbon and Ijora, which will incur more costs.
Speaking in the same vein, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat stated that a pragmatic action would be taken on the illegal occupants of the Eko bridge due to the hardship their activities have inflicted on the majority of Lagos commuting public as a result of closure of the bridge.
On his part, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederick Oladehinde assured of collaboration of the State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA and Federal Road Safety Commission to manage traffic on routes which traffic has been diverted due to maintenance work on the Eko bridge.
Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye hinted that repairs have been carried out on Herbert Macaulay Way, which is one of the routes traffic has been diverted to ease motoring while the project lasts.
Director of the Construction company, Mr George Mohanna, did a visual explanation of the project with particular focus on the Ijora Olopa and Apongbon sections where internal and external reinforcements are being carried out .
The Director Bridges in the Federal Ministry of Works, Mr Oluropo Oyetade explained that the 51 years old Eko bridge, first underwent maintenance in 1975, until another in 2021 and later in 2022 meant to change over one hundred damaged bearings and expansion joints.