Nigeria’s Third Mainland Bridge, Africa second longest bridge, has been partially closed since June, 24 to allow repair work to continue but this has presented another challenge-traffic nightmare in Lagos.
Motorists are spending up to five hours in traffic in Africa’s largest city by population.
In response,Lagos State Government has stationed traffic officers in the area to be on duty 24 hours daily during the six months the Third Mainland Bridge will undergo repairs.
The Third Mainland Bridge extends nearly 12 kilometres to link Lagos Island, the business heart of the city, with the mainland where most people live.
About 650 Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officers would be deployed to manage traffic on the bridge and alternative routes which would be complemented by 250 officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps, says Federic Oladeinde, Commissioner for Transport.
Oladeinde said that the partial closure won’t affect 75 per cent of the users as alternative routes are already in place for the 25 per cent motoring public that would be affected by the partial closure of the road.
But many Lagos residents have now turned to ferries in an effort to avoid traffic jam on the bridge.
Infact,the Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) said a day after the closure that there has been a higher demand for our services across various routes.
Economist Bismarck Rewane estimates the bridge’s partial closure will cost more than $1 billion per month in lost productivity.
Facts about Third Mainland Bridge
Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland, the other are the Eko and Carter bridges. It was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the 6th October Bridge located in Cairo was completed.
Which government started Third Mainland Bridge?
The project was started and completed by the government of General Ibrahim Babangida. The bridge was built in two phases. Phase one saw construction between Lagos Island and the road interchange atEbute Metta – a neighbourhood of mainland Lagos – between 1976 and 1980.