In Lagos State, residents commuting between the Island and Mainland have been expressing tales of agony since the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge for maintenance on July 24, 2020.
The 11.8 kilometre bridge links key ends on the Mainland, like Yaba, Ikeja, Apapa-Oshodi expressway, Lagos-Ibadan expressway and many densely populated areas in the Lagos Island, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Lekki, where multi-billion naira businesses are located. Traders and workers commute everyday from the Mainland to the Island, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki, to earn their living.
The first phase of the repair is focusing on the Oworonshoki end, inward Lagos Island in the morning, with traffic diversion from 12 midnight to 1pm, while there will be traffic diversion on Lagos Island inward Oworonshoki from 1pm to 12am.
The Lagos State commissioner for transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, had announced before the repairs began, that the state government had done rehabilitation of alternative routes for motorists.
Oladeinde said Iddo inwards Carter Bridge, Market Road inwards Herbert Macaulay Road and Herbert Macaulay Road by Abeokuta Street, as well as the Herbert Macaulay by Cemetery and Apapa Road inwards Oyingbo had been fixed.
He advised motorists heading towards Ikeja and Ikorodu road from Osborne Road, Ikoyi, in the morning to make use of Carter Bridge to access Eko Bridge through Ijora Olopa. This, he said, would lead them through the Funsho Williams Avenue to Doman Long Bridge to Ikorodu, or to use Carter Bridge to Iddo through Oyingbo to Herbert Macaulay and Jibowu to link Ikorodu road.
Motorists coming from Victoria Island were advised to utilise Ozumba Mbadiwe Road to the Falomo bridge, through Alfred Rewane Road to Old Kingsway Road, Osborne, Ilubirin and Carter Bridge.
Another option for motorists is to take Bonny Camp to Independence Bridge and to Marina Bridge, through Apongbon to Eko Bridge, Ijora Olopa, Iddo and Oyingbo. In the afternoon, road users inbound Lagos Island were advised to use Ojota on Ikorodu road to access Funsho Williams Avenue through Eko Bridge/Apongbon axis, or to utilise Ikorodu road to access Fadeyi/Jibowu/Yaba and link Oyingbo-Iddo to Carter Bridge.
“Rehabilitation works are going on at the remaining routes highlighted for traffic diversions to enhance free traffic flow along the corridor during the rehabilitation,” Oladeinde noted, while advising motorists who did not have urgent assignments on the Island to avoid the area this period to discourage an influx of vehicular movements.
He also advised commuters to make use of water transportation by linking up with the various jetties in the metropolis for their trips.
But commuters complained that some of the alternative routes were not in good shape while repairs were ongoing on some. Our correspondent observed that some portions of the Ikorodu road connecting Yaba from Maryland, for instance, were characterised by large potholes, with the condition worsened by heavy downpour, leading to traffic jam.
Also, in March 2020, a section of Eko bridge, which is usually the go-to alternative, was closed for rehabilitation works on wornout bearings noticed between the
Alaka and Costain part, inward Apongbon. About four months after, the bridge is yet to be opened.
Residents who live on the Mainland but work or do business on the Island narrated that their commuting experiences had been traumatic since the closure of the bridge. They lamented that they had been spending more time and money getting to their destinations due to heavy traffic.
Some residents, who said they could not bear the daily rigour of that traffic, have decided to temporarily relocate to the Island, where they work or do business, until the end of the maintenance work.
A textile dealer at the Balogun market on the Lagos Island, Mrs Folashade Bello, pointed out that some of the inner streets that were made to serve the purpose of diversions were characterised by indiscriminate vehicle parking, locked gates and poor street lightings, among others.
A resident of Oshodi, on the Mainland, Mr Sulaiman Quadri, on Monday, July 27, left his home for work at Lekki Phase 1, but little did he know that he would not return home that day due to the gridlock the closure caused.
Quadri recounted, “My first experience was on the first working day after the closure. It was on a Monday, and I will say it was horrible. I had to do some urgent work in the office that Monday and stay back till 9pm. I usually take Uber or Taxify after close of business, but on that day,
I was lost in the work I was doing, such that I never realised it was 9pm. When I wanted to order my ride, I got a notification that Uber/ Taxify would close by 9pm, so I had no option than to go in public transport.
“Everything looked normal to me until I got to Ikoyi, where there was heavy traffic. I stopped and walked to Obalende, where I got another vehicle to Oshodi. The traffic from the Third Mainland Bridge was so serious that it had extended to Ikoyi. Unfortunately, the vehicle I boarded broke down on the bridge, and before the driver could get someone to assist him move it to Iyana-Oworo, it took some time and we got to IyanaOworo by 11.30pm.
Some residents, who said they could not bear the daily rigour of that traffic, have decided to temporarily relocate to the Island, where they work or do business
Traffic gridlock at Iddo to Otto area due to diversion of Traffic to reduce traffic on third mainland bridge after the partial closure of the bridge in Lagos
People trekking home at Eko bridge due to the partial closure of Third Mainland bridge in Lagos