The minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday, assured Lagos residents of speedy completion of the rehabilitation of the Eko Bridge, even as he explained that several years of neglect have worsened the damage.
Speaking during the inspection and town hall meeting on the rehabilitation and repairs of the Eko Bridge, Fashola said that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to protecting the lives and property of the entire citizen, hence the quick intervention by his administration.
His words: “Eko Bridge was constructed between 1970 and 1971, but since then, maintenance had been left undone. So many things have been damaged. Even as I don’t want to sound alarmist but the fact remains that the bridge has been badly damaged, but we will fix it.
“The present administration is committed to full rehabilitation because that is the only way to secure the lives and property. So, we have started the rehabilitation, which will be done in record time. This is not the first time we are doing such rehabilitation, as a similar thing was done at Apapa.”
Fashola, who used the opportunity to appeal for the cooperation of Lagos State over trading and other activities going on under the bridge, said that the burnt part of the bridge at Apongbon would not have happened if people were not trading there.
He said: “We are appealing to the Lagos State government to ensure that all trading activities under the bridges in the state stop. We seek the cooperation of the Ministry of Transportation, Environment, and Local government Law enforcement agencies to help us preserve our bridges.”
Speaking on the extent of the damages, Director of Construction for Messrs. Buildwell Plants and Equipment Industries Ltd., Engr. George Mohanda said that most of the bearing of the bridge needs to be changed, some parts are about to collapse if not for the intervention.
Mohanda said: “We have commenced the rehabilitation exercises and the scope for completion is 24 months. We would have done it earlier than that but because we are not allowed to close the bridge completely so it makes the work slow a little.
“We are committed to the vision of the Honourable Minister and we have a record of delivering projects in record time. We have categorized the affected areas into 1 to 5 and work is ongoing.”
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Kamar Olowoshago said that the state government is willing to support in any way that will ensure the quick completion of the project.
Olowoshago said: “The Ministry of Transportation will be available to monitor the process and provide assistance where necessary to ensure that contractors have a smooth operation. In the aspect of people trading under the bridge, we will communicate with the appropriate department to ensure that the issue is addressed.”