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FG, Lagos govt reopen Eko/Apogbon bridges after 15 months closure

Eko Bridge has been undergoing phased rehabilitation, but contract for its comprehensive maintenance was awarded in February 2022 and expected to extend to 2026.

FG, Lagos govt reopen Eko/Apogbon bridges after 15 months closure. [Twitter:@jidesanwoolu]

Both governments also used the opportunity to declare zero tolerance for trading and other illegal activities under bridges across the state.

Leading the federal team, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos State, Olukorede Kesha thanked Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his support on the rehabilitation works.

She thanked him for deploying state machinery to support the federal government to ensure speedy completion of exercise.

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“If not for your intervention, today wouldn’t have come to pass like this. We want to thank you for your quick intervention, thank you sir for your support, thank you for your collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works.

“We are so grateful that you are considering the hardship that motorists are going through and you decided to bring the state machinery to the assistance of the Federal Government; that, we really appreciate,” she said.

Kesha, however, said that after the opening, there would be intermittent short closures to continue a repair contract that existed before fire gutted the Eko Bridge.

She said that attention shifted from the existing contract to the portion of Eko Bridge damaged by fire to ensure its speedy rehabilitation, explaining that the work on the other sections would continue.

The controller warned illegal squatters to leave, declaring that the governor was backing the federal government on their total eviction, to protect and preserve bridges across the state.

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“We are using this opportunity again to tell the illegal occupants under bridges that it can no longer be business as usual. This highway is our national asset, it belongs to all of us.

“We can no longer fold our hands and watch a few of us, a few un-progressives amongst us, to now destroy our national assets and it has its economic economic impact on the state and the nation at large.

“This is a final warning, the governor is here to support,” she said.

Supporting the position, Sanwo-Olu declared that the bridge would be re-open to traffic at midnight “today”.

He warned that street trading would not be allowed under the Eko/Apongbon as well as other bridges across the state.

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“These are important infrastructure, they are important assets that we can not fold our arms and let a few people destroy them, we have seen the effects of these destruction,” he said.

He warned illegal occupants at Ijora Olopa, Costain that it was zero tolerance to their activities.

“We cannot put markets under the bridges, we cannot put any form of sales under the bridges,” he said.

Speaking in Yoruba language, he further explained the hardship the damage to the infrastructure had caused.

Sanwo-Olu gave the traders one week to vacate all bridges, while advising them to take ownership of the infrastructure and ensure their safety.

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Earlier, the governor also explained extensive collaboration resulting in the successes achieved during rehabilitation works.

He assured the people that a comprehensive test was carried out by the contractors to ensure the rehabilitated bridges were structurally fit for motorists to ply.

Sanwo-Olu said there was need to replace some bearings on the entire stretch, explaining that future closures to jerk up the bridge would not exceed between one to three weeks.

He said that the re-opening of the bridge was to reduce hardship to road users.

The governor said government would make announcements through its ministry of transportation towards short closures for comprehensive repair of the entire bridge.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that both Apongbon and Eko Bridges were affected by fires caused by human activities in 2022.

Apongbon Bridge was affected by fire in March 2022 and efforts for its December completion were stalled by another fire that affected the Ijora Olopa section of Eko Bridge on Nov. 4.

The delivery date for Apongbon Bridge was extended to May 2023 because some materials for its repairs were used to start emergency repair of Ijora Olopa section.

The Federal Government later set another deadline of July 15, which was reviewed downward to July 9.

The 4.1km Eko Bridge links the Lagos Island with Mainland. It directly links to Apongbon on the Island side.

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Eko Bridge has been undergoing phased rehabilitation, but contract for its comprehensive maintenance was awarded in February 2022 and expected to extend to 2026.

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