Ahead Of March 4 Closure: Stakeholders Inspect Apapa Bridge

Representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and labour unions yesterday inspected the popular Marine Bridge in Apapa, Lagos, ahead of its closure for repairs on March 4.The ministries, agencies and unions include the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Nigeria Police, Nigerian Navy, FRSC and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.Others include the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr Godwin Eke, led the stakeholders on the inspection tour which began from the foot of the Apapa Bridge.Eke said that vehicular traffic would be diverted from Leventis Bus Stop and dispersed through Habour Road during the four-month repair.“The first closure is here (foot of Apapa Bridge at Leventis on Lagos-bound carriageway); we must divert all traffic from here. “We do not want any vibration on the bridge,” he said.Eke, however, noted that the closure would not be total as vehicles could still connect the bridge after the portion under reconstruction.He said that traffic would be controlled to avoid the short stretch under repair, adding that traffic would be dispersed normally into Lagos or Ijora.The project contractor, Mr Ghassan Kaadi of Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd., said that the bridge would be closed for four months.Kaadi said that the repair would be staggered on both bound carriageways in order to speed up construction.He said that there was the need to avoid vibration during changing of bearings, adding that the ramps, concrete, cables and steel of the bridge had been damaged and required repair.“We are also doing skin repairs, meaning that we are putting concrete around the bridge.“The construction is like having multiple surgeries. Every time we cast a portion, we need to allow seven days for it to cure.“It is like having surgery on various parts of the body,’’ he said, noting that a portion of the bridge had been damaged by fire,” he said.Mrs Bola Suleiman, an engineer with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, who is supervising the project, said that there would be another meeting with traffic regulatory agencies to map out strategies to prevent gridlock.An Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Police, Mr Nuru Yola, directed the divisional police officers in Apapa and Ijora to collaborate on traffic management in the area.Recall that the stakeholders had, at a one-day meeting on Tuesday in Lagos, agreed to meet on the site to map out strategies for the closure of the bridge.The Marine Beach Bridge was damaged by fire about 10 years ago.Contract for repair of the bridge was awarded in 2012, but the contractor abandoned the project apparently due to funding constraint.The Marine Beach Bridge repair was captured in the 2017 Budget.