By Grace Alegba
Julius Berger construction company is set to move to site for the permanent repairs of Apapa bridge in Lagos.
All parties to the construction are awaiting stakeholders’ suggestion for alternative routes before the closure of bridge for repairs.
The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr Adedamola Kuti, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that the ministry was working on effective traffic diversion alternatives that would ensure minimal stresses on users then.
He explained that the bridge was still in use because of an earlier emergency repair work done by Julius Berger to stabilise it.
He said that Messrs Buildwell Nigeria Ltd., had completed permanent repairs on an extension of the bridge which was damaged by fire.
He said that when Julius Berger returned to site, it would carry out permanent repairs on the portion of the bridge awarded to it.
“The repair work will be done on the bridge slab on the outbound Apapa carriageway.
“The situation we have found ourselves now is that for Julius Berger to start work, it means we have to divert traffic and we are still looking for the best alternatives.
“We have all sorts of trucks; lorries on this Apapa road, and as a result of that, we are having problems of diversion and that is what we are still looking at.
“We hope that very soon, we will be able to come up with the best solution on how to solve the traffic situation there.
“We are grateful to the Federal Government that has intervened by awarding the contract for the permanent repairs of the bridge to Julius Berger Construction Company.
“We will be coming up with solutions on traffic diversions in the next few days,’’ he told NAN.
Kuti said that meetings were already ongoing with stakeholders and traffic regulatory agencies on how best to tackle the problem and ensure minimal stress for road users.
He explained that some materials needed for the repairs of the bridge could not be sourced locally.
Hence, the contractor could not work on the bridge during its earlier closure to traffic, he said .
The controller said that adequate announcements would be made when the diversion of traffic would be made.
He appealed to road users to comply with directives of law enforcement and traffic agencies then.
NAN reports that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashion, on Aug. 5, 2016, inspected the dilapidated Apapa Bridge which was damaged by fire.
The effect of the fire exposed some of brudge’s steel layers and made it to cave.
Fashola after a meeting with relevant stakeholders on Aug. 7, 2016 ordered the immediate closure of the bridge.
Julius Berger Plc moved to site the following day to begin emergency repair works.
An impact assessment of the bridge was thereafter carried out by Julius Berger which advised the Federal Government to embark on its permanent repairs.
This was despite the emergency work then.
However, in February 2017, the Federal Government ordered the closure of another extended portion of the bridge four four months for total rehabilitation.
The closed portion was about 700 metres long from the portion repaired by Julius Berger for four months.
However, due to paucity of funds, the contractor abandoned site but the project was captured in 2017 budget leading to its award and subsequent permanent repair by Buildwell Nigeria Ltd.
NAN reports that the Apapa Bridge and the Marine Beach Bridge are jointly referred to as the Apapa-Ijora Bridge.
Both bridges had been damaged by fire at different times in the past.(NAN)