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Third Mainland Bridge is safe, says govt

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Mike_Onolememen Mike_Onolememen

THE Federal Government has allayed fears of imminent collapse of the Third Mainland Bridge.

 

Describing the bridge as “safe”, it said an assessment would soon be conducted to determine the “extent of maintenance work the road requires”.

The Senate has given its Committee on Works two weeks to investigate how safe the bridge is.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East, who raised the alarm over the bridge at plenary last week, told reporters in Lagos yesterday that the probe would ascertain the veracity of his claim.

He dismissed insinuations he raised a false alarm.

Ashafa said: “How can someone say the issue is political? Nigerians across all ethnic groups ply that bridge on a daily basis. About 70, 000 vehicles use the bridge daily; a disaster on it will affect all of us.

“Just like the Dana Crash where some people came after the crash to say that they had complained about the plane and nothing was done, we don’t want medicine after death. This is about the safety of Nigerians”.

Ashafa said Prof JHT Kim, Head of Concrete Structural Engineering Laboratory, Yousei University, Seoul, Korea, came in December 2012 to conduct an underwater examination of the structures holding the bridge and reported that the damages to the structure were worse than what he was briefed about.

He said the repairs embarked upon during the last quarter of last year by the Ministry of Works were mere window dressing on the expansion joints.

Dismissing fear, that the bridge may collapse soon, the Director of Highways Design (Bridges), Federal Ministry of Works, Aniete Effiong said: “The Ministry has taken proactive steps in line with its mandate to ensure that the Third Mainland Bridge is protected and kept in an acceptable service state.

“Following reports of oscillation and excessive vibrations of the bridge under traffic load, the Federal Ministry of Works in 2008 engaged the services of Messrs JBN Plc. to conduct preliminary investigations of the structure and later Dynamic tests were carried out by Messrs 4EMME, an internationally acclaimed Bridge Engineering Consulting firm. He stressed that the reports of the investigations and tests at the time indicated that the bridge was structurally adequate but required the replacement of bad expansion joints and bearings which Messrs Borini Prono & Co. Nigeria Ltd., has just done.”

“To safeguard the integrity of the bridge, the ministry has commenced the process of engaging a consultant to urgently carry out investigation/assessment on the entire bridge substructure so as to determine the extent of maintenance work required”, he said, adding that the bridge is safe.

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