Closure of Ijora-Apapa bridge to cost FG over N200bn

Closure of Ijora-Apapa bridge to cost FG over N200bn

- Over N200 billion may be lost if the federal government blocks the Ijora-Apapa Bridge in Lagos for two months

- Between N1.2 trillion and N1.3 trillion is made annually from the ports

- Earlier, the federal government had announced that it would close the Ijora-Apapa Bridge for “permanent repairs” as soon as alternative routes are provided

The country is set to lose over N200 billion, if the Ijora-Apapa Bridge in Lagos is blocked for two months by the federal government, This Day reports.

The Nigerian federal government makes between N1.2 trillion and N1.3 trillion annually from the ports through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The federal government had recently announced that it would close the Ijora-Apapa Bridge for “permanent repairs” as soon as stakeholders come up with alternative routes for use by commuters.

Stakeholders believe closing the bridge without first fixing the Tincan portion of the dilapidated Apapa-Oshodi Expressway will amount to shooting itself in the foot. They called on the government to have a rethink and fix the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway before closing the Ijora-Apapa Bridge for repairs; otherwise, there will be no access to the ports.

Lucky Amiwero, the president, National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said that closing the Ijora-Apapa Bridge without proper traffic management will lead to cargoes been divert to other countries.

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He said: “It will make no sense, if they go ahead and close the bridge without alternative roads to the port. The Tincan section of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway has completely collapsed. That road must be fixed first and the trucks on the Ijora-Apapa Bridge that has extended to Western Avenue and Maryland must also be cleared before anything can be done.

“I can tell you that the country will lose a lot of cargo and billions of naira in revenue. Daily, Nigerians who ply that road suffer undue hardship; some are killed by falling containers and trucks. Why add more insult to injury? It makes no sense why anybody will think of this. They should immediately reverse the decision and first provide alternative means of getting in and out of the Apapa port, which is the gateway to the Nigerian economy.”

An official of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said the government had to provide alternative means of getting in and out of the port.

The official, argued that the government will not lose much revenue since it is a partial closure.

Adedamola Kuti, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, assured that Julius Berger Plc, the contractor handling the project, was ready to move to site.

The controller noted that the ministry was working on effective traffic diversion alternatives that would ensure minimal stresses on users then.

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Kuti stated that the bridge was still in use because of an earlier emergency repair work done by Julius Berger to stabilise it. According to him, Messrs Buildwell Nigeria Ltd, had completed permanent repairs on an extension of the bridge, which was damaged by fire..

“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 said.

He assured 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.

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According to an earlier report by NAIJ.com, truck and tanker drivers have returned to the Oshodi-Apapa expressway blocking the major road and making residents pass through hellish conditions as the gridlock resulting from this continues to spread to adjourning roads.

Vanguard reports that the road is currently overtaken by articulated vehicles making residents whose offices are located in the Apapa area suffer many hours on their way to work.

Many of the residents of the state, on Thursday, March 22, resorted to patronizing motorcycles hitherto banned on the road.

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Source: Naija.ng

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