Lagos – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said in Lagos on Thursday that the Federal Government was on the verge of concluding an assessment, before embarking on the repair of the dilapidated Apapa bridge.
Fashola while inspecting the bridge in Apapa that government was also doing a nationwide audit of bridges, to effectively plan for their repairs.
He recalled that the Apapa bridge was over 40 years old, noting that it had not received proper maintenance for long, but was taking axle loads that exceeded its capacity due to the busy nature of the terrain.
Fashola lamented that the bridge was also subjected to all kinds of abuses, including street trading, burning and people living underneath.
“The bridge has really been battered by us, abused by us, and as a result, we are having the contractor now to do a total evaluation of what is seen and unseen, so that we can restore the bridge to something close to its original form by the time we finish.
“We will change the expansion joints, mill the surface, replace the surface and also replace some of the reinforcements and strengthen them.
“We cannot reach a conclusion until we see all the engineering requirements, designs and costs,’’ he said.
The Minister said that he was working on an evaluation for the repair of all damaged bridges in Lagos and across the nation and to make provisions for them in the 2017 budget.
“We are hamstrung by budget provisions, but we hope that by next year, we will repair bridges not only in Lagos, but also in Kano, Kogi and across the country that need repairs.
“We set up a bridge repair, resuscitation and replacement team in the ministry. I am waiting for their report and that will form the basis of our budgeting process for next year.
“Instead of doing piece meal bridges here and there for all of the bad bridges, we want to have them all under focus.
“And I think that is the way that it is useful to work, to plan to intervene nationwide and restore all of our bad bridges,“ he said.
He said that other bad roads in Lagos would also receive attention, adding that contractors who were being owed for over three years were being re-mobilised back to site.
Earlier, a team of engineers who had conducted the minister around and beneath the bridge, stressed the need to quickly rehabilitate the bridge.
The Federal Controller Works, Lagos, Mr Godwin Eke, had also explained that the bridge’s abutment, columns and beams were threatened because there was a fire incident on it.
“We have some of the details here,’’ he said.
An engineer from Build Well Nigeria Ltd, Mr George Mohanna, told the minister that some parts of the bridge could still be salvaged, without a total demolition.
“This beam can still be saved,’’ he said.
Various teams of engineers also took turns to examine the bridge both before the arrival and after the departure of the Works, Housing and Power minister.