The Federal Government has finally reopened the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos for normal vehicular passages yesterday.
This followed 19 months of its rehabilitation.
Workmen were seen early in the morning removing debris and crash barriers positioned here and there across the bridge and putting finishing touches to asphalt laying on some sections before the main opening, even as spectators watched.
The Director, Highway Bridges and Design, Mr. Emmanuel Adeoye, who was in charge of the reopening, explained work on the surface of the bridge had been completed, adding that additional work would however continue beneath it.
He also clarified several expansion joints, bearings were fixed during the repairs.
He spoke: “We have done a lot of rehabilitation works on the super structure and the bridge is fit for use now and we are set to open it, that is why we are here.
“For now the superstructure is the main one that is being worked on now we are going to work on the substructure and the foundations much later, but that does not affect the flow of traffic.
“Traffic can be flowing and we can be doing our work under the water quietly. We are opening the bridge now because it is fit for use now.
“The repairs is very durable that is why we have taken pains and have been working on it since July to make sure it is good for use. We have gone round, we have checked, we have found out that it is ok,” Adeoye said.
According to him, the bridge maintenance unit of the Federal Ministry of Works would sustain the bridge's periodic maintenance and check its components, adding the work under the bridge would be completed between the next six months and one year.
Expressing official gratitude to Lagosians for their fortitude and forebearance during the rehabilitation, Mr. Olukayode Popoola, Federal Controller of Works Lagos, explained the challenges which slowed down construction to include the COVID-19 and the EndSARS protests which made the contractor lose some time.
Popoola spoke: “Now that we have finally opened the bridge today as the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, I am very happy that the promise that federal government made that this bridge will be rehabilitated and opened to traffic before the end of February has been actualised."
The Third Mainland Bridge was partially shut on July 24 2020 for a fresh round of rehabilitation works.
The repairs which were expected to last six months were extended by one month as a result of the recent #EndSARS protests in Lagos extending the completion date from January 2021 to February.
The construction was initially divided into two phases of three months on each carriageway, starting with the Oworonsoki bound carriageway the completion of which dragged to four months.
Traffic was partially diverted on a stretch of 3.5km where construction is ongoing between Adeniji Adeniji Ramp and Ebute Meta, while different time belts were allotted for traffic diversions on the bridge.
The 11.8km bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland.
The bridge starts from Oworonshoki, which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, ending at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island.
Constructed in 1990, the bridge was adjudged as the longest in Africa until 1996 when the Oct. 6 Bridge in Cairo, Egypt was completed.