LAGOS – Motorists and commuters who do not have imperative reasons to move between the Island and Mainland have been advised to stay off the roads for the next few months as repair on the 3rd Mainland Bridge entered its second day.
The advice became necessary as residents, motorists and commuters in Lagos, yesterday, had hectic time getting to their destinations as they were locked up in gridlock primarily caused by the ongoing repair on the bridge.
Despite the efforts of hundreds of traffic managers, comprising the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, members of the Nigeria Police, stationed at strategic points to ensure free flow of traffic, motorists, commuters and residents of the state lamented the traffic situation, urging government to work out modalities that could reduce the traffic logjam, apart from the diversion routes provided.
The partial closure practically slowed down business activities on the Island and Mainland due to the attendant chaotic traffic situation.
The traffic logjam became noticeable about 5a.m. as the outward portion of the bridge from the Island was partially closed while inward was opened for motorists who struggled to drive through the terrible traffic situation.
Commuters going towards and out of Ikeja were stranded at the bus-stop for hours due to non-availability of commercial buses plying the routes while the few commercial buses available increased their fares astronomically.
When Vanguard visited CMS garage on the Island where passengers used to board vehicles to Ikeja, commercial bus drivers parked their vehicles, unwilling to face the terrible traffic situation.
A commuter, who spoke at Sangrouse Bus-Stop, said he had been at the bus-stop for over two hours without any clue about how to get to his destination.
Advice to motorists: Leave your cars at home
With palpable fears expressed by residents as repair commenced, weekend, the state government has said it had put adequate arrangements in place to reduce the heavy traffic due to the repair. The government, it was learnt, rolled out new water transportation services to provide alternative routes.
The government also said it had increased the number of ferries from 60 to 64 while 60 new 200-seater ferries will arrive next month.
Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, on Lagos Traffic Radio, urged motorists to make use of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway to decongest traffic build up on Oworonsoki- Ikorodu and Funsho Williams roads.
Urging motorists to exercise restraint on the roads, Opeifa, advised vehicle owners, to use the ferry services provided, as adequate arrangement had been provided for their comfort.
Opeifa said the government had invested in the water transportation to provide alternative means to road-users, hence, the establishment of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA.
Managing Director of LASWA, Mr. Yinka Morinho, told Vanguard that the initiative was part of measures to provide an inter-modal travel time within the state as well as provide alternative routes to road transportation aimed at decongesting road traffic.
He said: “Before now, the state government has put in place infrastructure to make navigation on the waterways safer for passengers.”
The Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed this year on the acquisition of ferries with a public, private partnership,PPP, initiative between the state government, Eko Water Buses limited and the Aluminium boat company that will manufacture the ferries.
Ferry routes across the city
On the ferry routes, commuters on Oworonshoki Road will have the opportunity of avoiding the resultant heavy traffic of the bridge, if they make use of the ferry service at the Oworonsoki axis to the Lagos Island.
“At Ojo jetties, passengers have two options. They can decide to make use of the Ebute-Ojo Jetty or the Ijegun-Egba Jetty. These two jetties are also well-equipped to convey commuters to their destinations on the Island.
“In Ikorodu alone, we have six jetties namely: Ipakodo, Ijede, Baiyeku, Majidun, Origin and metro ferry. All these jetties including the ones at Ojo and Oworonshoki will transport passengers from these jetties through Addax, Falomo, CMS/Marina and Ebute-Ero.”
Other effort put in place by the agency to ensure that the state has effective water transportation is the addition of another operator which increased the number to 64, adding “out of them, 59 are passenger-operators while five are cargo operators.”
On the 60 new 200-seater ferry, he said one of the ferries will arrive by next month.