The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Adedamola Kuti, on Friday said tests on 15 expansion joints on the Third Mainland Bridge had been completed.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 11.8km bridge was closed to traffic on August 23 for investigative maintenance tests.

The investigative maintenance test is expected to last for three days from August 24 to 26.

Kuti told NAN on telephone that a lot of progress was made in testing some expansion joints on the bridge during the day.

He said: “We made significant progress today with good weather.

“We would continue tomorrow by the grace of God.

“The expansion joints are many, so we have to pick them one after the other and the test is being conducted on each of them.

“We have done about 14 or 15 today.”

Kuti, however, did not disclose the total number of expansions joints to be tested.

Meanwhile, transporters seized the opportunity of the congestion on outbound sections of Eko and Apongbon Bridges at the close of work to make brisk businesses by increasing fares.

NAN reports that outbound traffic from the Island was heavy on both bridges, with the congestion extending to Ojuelegba on the Funso Williams Avenue.

Officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, Federal Road Safety Corps and the Police were seen directing traffic and stationed their patrol teams on the bridges.

Commuters were at the mercy of the transporters as they forced to part with outrageous fares.

Commercial motorcyclists (okada) also charged passengers as much as N1,000 from CMS to Ojuelegba, a distance of about 10km.

Traffic became chaotic as some of the motorcyclists plied the median between Alaka and National Stadium, destroying the grasses and flowers in the process.

NAN also reports that commercial buses at the General Hospital park increased their fares for Iyana Ipaja from N300 to N500, while the buses going to Egbeda imposed N600 per passenger against the normal N350.

Also, fare was increased for Obalende-Oshodi route to N300 as against N150 or N200.

Cynthia Oriade, a business woman in Ikoyi, told NAN that it was difficult for her to move out of Ikoyi because of the weekend rush.

Oriade said: “Everybody is trying to get out of the island at the same time because of the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge.

“The Okada people are not helping matters as they take advantage of every little traffic to extort.”

A commercial motorcyclist, Bashir Hashiru, told NAN that the hike in fare was to compensate for time lost manoeuvring through the gridlock.

Hashiru said: “If I collect N1,000 from a passenger from Obalende to Ojuelegba it is not too much because it is difficult to even pass with the heavy traffic.

“I may not even get passenger(s) coming back.

“From Obalende, we charge N1,200 and if it is CMS we take only N1,000.”

Some of the drivers who spoke to NAN insisted that the exorbitant fares were charged to compensate for the inconveniences and time spent on the road.

One of the drivers, Idehen Eyaye, said: “The situation on ground is what dictates the fares.

“It is not our fault.”

Adebisi Bolaji, a banker, however, said gridlock was usual on Fridays as many workers move out of the island to come back on Monday, but noted that the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge had aggravated it.

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