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Lagosians groan as 3rd Mainland Bridge is shut

Posted by By PATRICK ASONYE on 2008/08/05 | Views: 2528 |

Lagosians groan as 3rd Mainland Bridge is shut


It has never been this hectic for Lagos motorists. Yesterday - Day One of the estimated 60-day period earmarked for repair works on the Third Mainland Bridge, the longest axial bridge in Lagos – road users literally saw hell.

It has never been this hectic for Lagos motorists. Yesterday - Day One of the estimated 60-day period earmarked for repair works on the Third Mainland Bridge, the longest axial bridge in Lagos – road users literally saw hell.

Following the closure of a section of the Island-bound axis of the bridge, traffic build-up became a total grid-lock as some commercial vehicle drivers, apparently without prior knowledge of the closure, engaged in frantic manoeuvring to exit from the jam. Predictably, the situation became even more frenetic.

Ordinarily, traffic on that bridge could sometimes be worrisome particularly during the peak morning hours when commuters rush to work on the Island. Ditto return journey in the evening. That is even when both sides of the dual carriage way are simultaneously in use. But yesterday’s was without compare!
Coupled with the early morning rain which, as usual, resulted in the flooding of parts of the metropolis, driving to the Island through the Third Mainland Bridge proved a huge fatigue.

Reason: As Sunday Sun found out, the flood waters had taken over most alternative roads which the state government had massively advertised as part of the interim measure to ameliorate the difficulties that road users might face during the period. Therefore, Island-bound vehicles were forced to converge on the axial bridge under repairs.

Even with the huge presence of a combined team of Traffic Wardens, Road Safety and LASTMA officials along the route, it was sheer exasperation for most road users. At some point, the traffic managers seemed to have been overwhelmed. But they did a yeoman’s job all the same.
"This is frustrating," lamented an elderly driver after standing at a spot without movement for, as he claimed, upward of one hour.

Predictably, the effect of the congestion on the axial bridge rippled to other parts of the town, resulting in severe traffic jams almost everywhere.
A journey that normally takes 30 minutes lasted hours yesterday. And in the typical Lagos exploitation, operators of commuter buses hiked fares on most routes. Going to the Island, the fare shot up by 200 per cent.
While commuters complained, transport operators warn that "tomorrow would be worse for everybody."

On most routes, Okada riders became kings of the road. Where vehicles were on standstill, the commercial motorbikes made brisk business meandering through the maze of traffic.
Understandably, tomorrow being the first working day of the week would witness huge traffic to the Island. And with the constriction of the existing road network, road users are in for some harrowing experience.
Those that experienced the jam on the axial bridge yesterday would obviously turn to either Carter Bridge or Eko Bridge as alternative routes to the Island.
"Nobody knows exactly what would happen tomorrow," a woman who walks on Victoria Island lamented.

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