The Federal Government says it has intervened in the maintenance and rehabilitation of 37 bridges across the country including the Third Mainland Bridge.
Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, disclosed this at a news conference to update citizens on the forthcoming partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
According to him, many of the bridges are being worked on under the deck even while people drive along.
He said: “Currently, we have intervened on 37 bridges across Nigeria doing repair and maintenance work.
“Because Lagos was a former federal capital and a coastal and aquatic state where you have so many islands it has by far some of the largest bridges in the country.
“Some of the bridges as you have heard are the Doma long bridge, Ojuelagba bridge, the independence bridge and the Falomo bridge.
“At this moment work is going on in the marine bridge linked to Apapa, work has started on the Eko bridge and will also start on the Obalende bridge, which was damaged by fire caused by a tanker that exploded about a month and half ago.”
He added that the government had to take a condition assessment of Cara bridge, which was damaged by fire from a tanker.
Fashola said the bridges so far worked on included Tatabu bridge in Niger state, Tanbowawa bridge in Kano, the old river Niger bridge linking Onitsha and Asaba.
Others are the Isaac Boro bridge in Port Harcourt, Etuok bridge linking Benin and Sapele, Katsina Ana bridge in Benue, Ajaokuta bridge in Kogi, and the Muritala Muhammed bridge in Kotokafe, Kogi.
According to the minister, the third mainland bridge, which is one of these bridges to be closed partially on which work will commence has been worked on in 2018 and 2019.
He added that the repair which would be for six months would begin on July 24 by midnight and end on Jan, 24, 2021.
He appealed to citizens to endeavour to use the bridge only when it was absolutely necessary, adding that the repairs were due to the need for safety and convenience of citizens.
“After this is done we hope to have a better driving experience on the bridge. We must thank Mr president for his commitment to the maintenance of public infrastructure which is the heart and soul of this undertaking,’’ he said.
Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), also told the conference that the corps was set for the six months assignment, adding that 250 personnel would be deployed to manage the road.
Oyeyemi said 50 officials and 200 marshals would be deployed for the assignment including some level of special marshals to man about 21 traffic points from Ojota Motorway to Alapere Bus-stop.
He said the corps would work with other agencies of the government to ensure that within the first two weeks the road users would get used to the diversions and ensure that what the government wanted to do was achieved.
Mr Emmanuel Adeoye, Director of Bridges in the ministry, urged citizens to be more patient when using the road to ease the discomfort that could occur.
According to him, there are 132,702 daily traffic on the bridge, twice the level of Lagos-Ibadan route traffic movement.
He said the closure would be in two phases to ensure operational efficiency with each phase sub divided into morning and afternoon traffic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 11.8km-long third mainland bridge, conceived in the `70s as a belt way round the whole city of Lagos, was fully constructed in the 1990s.
Also present at the conference were the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Yemi Oguntominiyi, and other directors in the ministry.