NIGERIA- The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, on Sunday said that the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos was safe for use, contrary to a Facebook posting spreading fears about the bridge.
The Ministry in a statement attached a video of ongoing underwater confirmatory tests on the bridge’s piles.
The statement, signed by Mr Hakeem Bello, Special Adviser, Communications, to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, added that the expansion joints being speculated to be dangerous was among those slated for repairs.
“The General Public is hereby informed that the expansion joint shown in a Facebook video clip, is one of those slated for change during repairs on the Third Mainland Bridge which will commence soon.
“It is still functioning and our engineers and consultants have advised that it does not pose any structural danger to the bridge and it is safe for use.
“Commuters and Lagos residents will recall that the Third Mainland Bridge was shut down for a 3-day Investigative Maintenance in August 2018.
“Tests done on the expansion joints then — called static and dynamic load tests — were to check functionality. A number of expansion joints were identified for replacement then.
“More recently, in March this year, underwater confirmatory tests (video attached) preceding the repair works to be done on the Bridge, were carried out on the piles to determine if there is further deterioration or not on the piles from that done in 2013.
“However, all the tests done preparatory to closure of the Bridge to commence comprehensive Maintenance works indicate that the integrity of the Bridge is intact.
“Therefore, the Third Mainland Bridge is safe for use, and people should desist from spreading or sharing false information about the Bridge on Social Media platforms.
“The expansion joints to be replaced are part of a regular bridge maintenance programme that has been neglected for decades, which the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is now addressing frontally, on many bridges nationwide.
“Such maintenance works include resurfacing of the Bridge, along with several others, which this administration is also undertaking as the bridge users will attest to a better driving surface,’’ it stated.
The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland; the others are the Eko Bridge and the Carter Bridge.
The bridge was built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and opened by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990; it measures about 11.8 km in length.
By 2006, many commuters reported that the bridge was vibrating noticeably, indicating that it needed urgent maintenance works.
The bridge was the longest in Africa until 1996, when the 6th October Bridge located in Cairo, Egypt was completed.