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Gridlock as rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge continues

Posted by By TESSY OKOYE on 2008/08/05 | Views: 2530 |

Gridlock as rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge continues


The pains and chaos that greeted the diversion of traffic to pave way for rehabilitation of the ever-busy third Mainland Bridge was replayed on Monday, the first working day after the closure.

The pains and chaos that greeted the diversion of traffic to pave way for rehabilitation of the ever-busy third Mainland Bridge was replayed on Monday, the first working day after the closure.

Traffic snarl was witnessed on almost all the major roads leading to the Island, with vehicular movement almost grinding to a halt.
Commuters had a herculean task getting to their places of work, as most Island bound commercial buses hiked their fares by as much as 100 per cent.

Though security officials and traffic officers were seen positioned at strategic locations to forestall a replay of Saturdayís unprecedented traffic jam, Monday still turned out to be another day of misery. For those who work on the Island, but reside on the Mainland, it was hell as many of them were stranded at bus stops. Despite that many left their homes early, they were still caught in the gridlock.

Transport fares were also hiked astronomically by commercial drivers, who wanted to make up for time wasted in the traffic snarl. It took many motorists several hectic hours to get to their destination.
As early as 5 a.m, traffic had built up on the Oworonshoki Express Road leading to the bridge and spilled over to other adjoining roads. Ikorodu Road and Ebute-Metta areas were not also spared as traffic was heavy, but moved at a snail speed.

Alternate roads mapped out for vehicles, including Western Avenue, Herbert Macaulay and other link roads were also gripped by the gridlock, as recalcitrant drivers drove against the traffic to escape the bottle neck.

For commuters plying the Orile-Mile 2 Express Road, it was chaos and lamentation as they struggled to board the few available buses, despite the inflated rates.
Many motorists complained about the pain they have been passing through because of the bridge. One of them, Mrs Njideka Martins, said Lagosians could have been saved the agony if the maintenance of the bridge was done regularly.

Another commuter, Ayodele Ilessanmi, also bemoaned the man hour lost to the gridlock. He laments what he described as governmentís fire brigade approach to matters that border on life.
In his words: "I spent close to seven hours on Oworonshoki Expressway with my family.

" Nothing can best describe the pain that many people went through on that day. The truth is that the chaos experienced now could have been avoided if government had carried out regular checks on the Third Mainland Bridge and other bridges in the state. We could have been spared all this stress."
Also decrying the unprecedented traffic bottleneck, Obinna Igbojionu, who works in Lagos Island, noted that the traffic congestion being witnessed in the metropolis as a result of the partial closure of the bridge has confirmed the fears of many Lagosians.
According to him: "It has been agonising for motorists since Saturday. We donít know how we would survive the remaining months in this type of confusion. We are not even sure the rehabilitation would be completed by the end of the year. We had our reservations about this closure. When the bridge was not shut, traffic was unbearable, now it is just hell."

Although the Lagos State Government prepared the minds of Lagosians for the likely outcome of the two-month closure of the Third Mainland Bridge, nothing, however, prepared the hearts of commuters and motorists for the nightmare that played out on Saturday, when the diversion was first effected. People billed to attend social functions were trapped for hours and failed to make it to their destinations or got there late.

The bottleneck also affected other neighbouring states, as commercial buses going outside and coming into the coastal state were trapped for hours in the traffic that started in the early hours of the day. The situation was also heightened by failed roads and blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by tanker drivers protesting the seizure of some of their vehicles by government in Ogere, Ogun State.

The bridge which is the link between Mainland and Island was rumoured early in the year to have collapsed. This development which sent panic and jitters into the spine of many took place months after it was reported that expansion joints between the piers were extensively damaged due to lack of maintenance.

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