Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital has been locked down in traffic following the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge, which is the only direct connection between the island and mainland parts of the state despite the deployment of large number of security and traffic personnel to monitor traffic on the alternative routes.

The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in collaboration with the Lagos State Government yesterday commenced a three-day investigative maintenance test on the Third Mainland Bridge built about 30 years ago from midnight of August 23 to the midnight of Sunday August 26, 2018.

As part of efforts to ensure proper traffic management during the period, the Lagos State Government created alternative routes as well as the deployment of over 2,000 personnel of the Nigeria Police, the Lagos Traffic Management Authority LASTMA, Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps NCDC with assurances to residents of free flow of traffic.

But our correspondent, who monitored the traffic situations across the alternative routes, reports that the entire state has been characterised by massive traffic congestion on most of the major roads, a development, he partly attributed to the poor state of the alternative routes and the parking of fuel tankers and other articulated vehicles on most of these roads and bridges.

Third Mainland Bridge

It was gathered for instance, that the Murtala Mohammed Way in Yaba, which is the second biggest and busiest of the alternative routes after the Funsho Williams Avenue (former Western Avenue), is mostly affected by this lockdown due to the several failed portions of the road.

Same is applicable to the Iddo end of Herbert Macaulay Way linking the Eko Bridge, which has been in a terrible state of disrepair for some time now. Huge traffic situation was also reported on the Funsho Williams Avenue due to the prevalence of trucks parked on the road and bridges, whose owners have defied presidential orders to vacate the place and other routes.

However, our correspondent also reports that the closure of the bridge also increased the number of passengers boarding ferries and boats, especially from Ikorodu to the Island.

Recall that the Lagos State Government had deployed a total of 650 LASTMA officials out of its entire workforce of 3710 while over 1000 officers and men of the Nigeria Police were deployed even as FSRC deployed about 200 of its men to manage traffic.

The state’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Ade Akinsanya, had yesterday appealed to motorists to cooperate with the security and traffic personnel, assuring that adequate arrangements, which included the deployment of personnel had been made to minimise the effects of expected huge traffic on road users.

He said: “Besides, all traffic management agencies including the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and the Police, among others, have been mandated to ensure smooth flow of traffic on all the other alternative roads and traffic corridor across the metropolis to ensure free flow of traffic”.

Lagos State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, while appealing for understanding and cooperation of motorists and other road users, assured that adequate logistics including the deployment of various operational vehicles and motorbikes to provide assistance to motorists while the closure lasted.

The Federal Government had last month closed the bridge for two days, and would possibly close it again towards the end of the year for at least two months to facilitate major repair works on the 13-kilometre bridge, believed to be longest in West Africa.