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FG, NSE reassess Apongbon Bridge, begin emergency repairs

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The Federal Government has commenced emergency repair works on Apongbon Bridge razed by fire on March 23, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Olukayode Popoola, announced this when he led officials of Federal Ministry of Works and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on a technical visit to the bridge on Tuesday.

The controller said that while integrity tests results on the bridge were being awaited, a contractor had moved to site for emergency repair works to ensure quick re-opening of the damaged section which was closed to traffic.

He explained that samples were taken from the bridge five days after the inferno and sent to materials testing laboratory for analysis, adding that outcome of the test will reveal extent of damage and repairs to be done.

“Because of the importance of this section of the bridge to Lagosians, the Federal Government consider it as an emergency.

“Though the fund for the repair is not yet in the budget, the Honourable Minister had to look for a way of solving this problem so that this section of the bridge that is closed to traffic would be opened immediately.

“The people that you’re seeing working there, they are the contractors that are supposed to work on Eko Bridge and this section where we had the fire was not part of the contract awarded for rehabilitation of this bridge.

“But because it is an emergency, the contractor had to be moved here to start the work they are doing, this will allow us to open the bridge soonest,” he said.

He said the delegations of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Nigerian Institution of Highway and Transportation Engineers (NIHTE) would also carry out assessment and advise government.

Speaking on the ultimatum issued by federal government to traders and other encroachers to vacate Apongbon and all other Lagos bridges by March 31, Popoola said a sudden enforcement would be carried out soon.

He explained that the Lagos State Government was working on relocation of traders under Apongbon Bridge while the ministry was waiting for the taskforce working on requirements for enforcement of the eviction.

Team of engineers assessing damage under Apongbon Bridge on Tuesday in Lagos

Popoola said that notices had been served and the taskforce was ready.

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He, therefore, appealed to encroachers who had not fully complied to the ultimatum to do so.

Chairman of the Lagos Branch of NSE, Mr Ayotunde Ogunnoiki, said that the society was alarmed at the level of damage under the bridge but would wait for result of integrity tests before drawing conclusions.

Popoola said that notices had been served and the taskforce was ready.

He, therefore, appealed to encroachers who had not fully complied to the ultimatum to do so.

Chairman of the Lagos Branch of NSE, Mr Ayotunde Ogunnoiki, said that the society was alarmed at the level of damage under the bridge but would wait for result of integrity tests before drawing conclusions.

He said the visit was both an industrial and technical visit and stressed the need for urgent rehabilitation of the bridge because of the high vehicular volume on the axis.

Mr Opanuga Adenuga, Lagos Branch Chairman of NIHTE, commended ongoing efforts at intermodal transportation by the Lagos State Government.

Adenuga said the intermodal transportation initiative, coupled with the Lagos-Ibadan Rail, would reduce pressure on the roads and curb gridlock in emergency situations like the Apongbon Bridge fire.

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