"Third Mainland Bridge is NOT collapsing" - FG

The Federal Ministry of Works yesterday said there was nothing wrong with the Third Mainland Bridge and that the bridge was collapsing.

The Director Highways Design (Bridges), Dominic Avishigh, who was reacting to rumours making the rounds on social media that the bridge was on the verge of collapsing, advised the motoring public and Lagosians to disregard it, saying that it was “unfounded and not based on any empirical fact.”

Avishigh, in a statement said: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Works (FMW) has been drawn to the misinformation in the social media that the third mainland bridge is on the verge of collapsing. The FMW wishes to advise the motoring public and indeed Lagosians to disregard this unfounded rumour which is not based on any empirical fact.

“The Third Mainland Bridge, which effectively connects Lagos Island with the mainland is the longest and most important bridge in Nigeria. The bridge was constructed in two phases; while the first phase was constructed in 1981, the second phase construction works was completed in 1991. He said, “The Federal Ministry of Works is not oblivious that roads and bridges once constructed need continuous maintenance.”

Avishigh said in 2006, joint inspection on the bridge was first carried out by a combined team of engineers from the Federal Ministry of Works, Julius Berger Nig Plc and M/s Borini Prono, a member of the consortium that constructed the bridge, following insinuations that the bridge was oscillating.

He said at the end of the inspection, it was resolved that an internationally-reputed bridge consultant be invited to carry out further inspection of the bridge.

“An international bridge consultant was thereafter invited to carry out series of inspections and investigations along with the contractors and bridge design consultants.

“The studies revealed that there was no threat of collapse on the Third Mainland Bridge. It was the same process that led to the commissioning of an Underwater Studies of the Bridge Sub-structure recently.”

According to him, “the preliminary report of the underwater investigation though not yet concluded revealed that the metal casing housing the concrete is rotting away as a result of the activities of certain sea creatures attracted to that section of the Lagos Lagoon due to the discharge of organic effluent into the Lagoon.”

He said following the report, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, wrote the Lagos State Government to stop the discharge of organic effluents into the lagoon in the area.

An independent consultant, he said, was again invited to review the underwater report and photographs. At the end of the review, the independent consultant allayed the fears of immediate danger to the bridge, explaining that the metal casings were not structural elements, but that they served as formworks during the construction work and acted as additional protection for the structural elements.

He said: “It is necessary to put on record that the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government, conscious of her responsibilities had in 2011 ordered the FMW to undertake the Underwater Inspection of all bridges nationwide to forestall any catastrophe. It is also pertinent to note that it was as a result of the Federal Ministry of Work’s investigation that necessitated the ongoing rehabilitation of the Expansion Joints on the Third Mainland Bridge, and had nothing to do with the report of the Underwater Inspection as being speculated in the social media (internet).”