By Grace Alegba and Abdulrahman Kadiri
Nigeria is planning to overhaul about 50 bridges across nationwide, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said.
Fashola unveiled the plan when he was inspecting the rehabilitation of Lagos Ring Road Bridge Abutment and Approach to the Third Mainland Bridge project on Tuesday in Lagos.
He told newsmen that some columns and beams of the Third Mainland bridge were threatened because of human activities, sand filling and ecological factors which resulted in erosion.
“The work we have come to inspect was awarded some years back when there was an indication of some mis-alignments here on the Lagos Outer Ring Road which is the beginning of what leads on to the Third Mainland Bridge itself which is just about here.
“And it is being caused by erosion, sand filling and other activities.
“This road has moved as a result of some sub-soil displacement,’’ Fashola said.
He said that the project which was slowed down by funding would be completed in November.
The minister said that many of the bridges in Lagos and across the country had suffered neglect and had not been undergoing routine maintenance.
Fashola said that the current administration was determined to correct the trend and had begun the process for maintenance of about 50 bridges across the country “if it receives the support of the legislature’’.
“Many of the bridges we built in the country over the last four, five decades have not been under any form of maintenance.
“We now have a three-year plan affecting over 50 bridges across the country for maintenance, repairs and restoration.
“And it is going to cost about N270 billion over three years.
“Our plan is to start with about N70 to N100 billion in year one; starting with the very critical ones so that they do not collapse and then we move to the less critical ones,’’ he said.
The minister said that the government had done all the survey and assessments to unravel the problems of the bridges, adding that, it was waiting for appropriation and approval of funds to execute the projects.
He decried indiscriminate parking and trading activities in some parts of Ebute Ero toward the Third Mainland Bridge.
Fashola warned that government would take action soon.
“I want to appeal to those people who use those areas as car parks and trading to start moving voluntarily in their own best interest.
“ We intend to repose our right of way while work is going on on the Outer Marina to free traffic,’’ he said.
The minister directed engineers to begin work to realign the Apongbon bridge.
Mr Gianfranco Albertazzi, the Joint Managing Director, Boroni Prono and Co Nig. Ltd- contractors of the project, told newsmen that some piers, alignment and decks and piles of the bridge were affected. (NAN)