Some motorists in Lagos State on Monday said the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge for repairs since Friday had increased their travel time to-and-from the Lagos Island.
The motorists decried the timing of the repairs, saying the work should have been done during the COVID-19 total lockdown.
The Federal Government had ordered total lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun State for over five weeks from the end of March through early May as part of measures to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
Road users said the repair works on the bridge, which spans over 11.8km and reported to be the busiest in Nigeria, should have been done during the lockdown even though the repair of the bridge which started on Friday is expected to last six months.
The bridge alongside the Carter Bridge and Eko Bridge connect Victoria Island to the mainland.
In his comment, a motorist, Titus Ayodeji, said the Federal Government needed to attend to other major roads to reduce the hardship being faced by motorists and commuters.
Ayodeji said, “Though it would have been very good if the government had utilised the period of lockdown to work on this repairs and expedite work, to lessen the pains of people but we have no choice than to accept the situation.
“One thing I think the government should also realise is that most roads are bad generally and they need attention. For instance, vehicles fall every day on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, among others. So, the attention of the government should be holistic.
“Most of the alternative roads are not also good enough. More vehicles are going to use these alternative roads and cause traffic jam. The state of these roads is going to get worse.”
Another road user, Oziegbe Okoeki, said, “The suffering of commuters and motorists are much in the state, going from Mainland to the Island every day, including weekends, even before this partial closure. “So, the current situation has increased the pains of road users. It has increased the travel time on this major access bridge to the Island.
“For instance, I should have been to work now on a normal day, and I am still on the road. Though the repair of the bridge is needed for our good but there is no way we won’t suffer from this partial closure.”
Okoeki told the News Agency of Nigeria that if the proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge had been done, the stress and suffering would have been minimal since the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge.
Also, a commuter, John Erhomosele, said the partial closure of the bridge had made him resolve to always leave home early, so as to get to work in good time, and also to return early.
Erhomosele said, “Fear gripped me when I learnt of the partial closure of the bridge because I know the negative impact it will have on the motorists. I use this bridge regularly and since the announcement, I have been jittery. Even, when the closure had not taken place, we spent hours getting to the office on daily basis.
“Sometimes, we leave home at about 5.30a.m or 6.00 a.m, and we won’t get to the office until 9.00a.m. By the time we get to the office, we are fanged out and this affects productivity.
“If you consider the rigor of daily transit when there was no form of closure, you can imagine what we will be going through now, especially in the afternoon with all the diversions.”