Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland, others are the Eko and Carter bridges. It was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the 6th October Bridge located in Cairo was completed.
The bridge starts from Oworonshoki which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi express way and Lagos-Ibadan express way, and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. There is also a link midway through the bridge that leads to Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba. The bridge was built by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC and opened by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990; it measures about 11.8 km in length.
Since its launch, the bridge has been undergoing haphazard maintenance which the present federal government is committed to correcting.
In August, the federal government of Nigeria announced a temporary shut down of the Third Mainland Bridge for a period of four days to allow investigative maintenance test to be carried out. According to the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya, the decision came after a concluded consultation with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
The four-day closure, according to Akinsanya, would enable the contractors assess the true state of the bridge after which works would commence by the end of the year or early in 2019.
In July, the federal government announced that the bridge will be closed for six months for maintenance works to begin. Construction would be done in 2 phases, three months on each carriageway.
Phase 1 of the maintenance works which involved carrying out repair works on the closed part of the Oworonshoki-bound of the bridge, from Adeniji-Adele to Adekunle began in late July.
By late September, all the six expansion joints had already been cut and concrete removed. Four out of the six joints had already been pulled out.
In Mid-November, the Federal Government announced the completion of the first phase rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge and a planned 18 hours total closure of the bridge. The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola during an inspection of the bridge said that the fixing of six expansion joints on the Oworonshoki bound carriageway had been completed.
Popoola said that debris would be cleared from the section and construction would move to the Island-bound carriageway, warranting a total closure of the bridge for 18 hours. The 18 hours closure began from midnight on Saturday through Sunday to move construction materials to the new portion and returned to the partial closure before Monday morning. This would enable the government to embark on the second phase of the project; Lagos Island-bound lane of the Third Mainland Bridge between Adekunle to Adeniji-Adele. Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in late February 2021.
In Mid-December, Mr Olukayode Popoola, the Federal Controller of Works Lagos, announced that the rehabilitation works are progressing steadily. “Work on the surface of the bridge is over 70% complete, but the entire project is 22% complete with the inclusion of construction underneath,” he said.
“On the Island-bound lane where we are working now, the contractor is ready to cast another three expansion joints this weekend, but because of the festive period, we have a lot of vehicles on the road. We were advised to leave it till next week maybe during the public holiday where we will do the total closure, then, we will be able to cast the three expansion joints,” affirmed Mr. Popoola.
He further added that efforts were on to ensure the contractor completed the ongoing replacement of expansion joints on the top of the bridge before the February 22nd, 2021 delivery date. “Work could continue under the bridge even after it is reopened to traffic,” he said.
In early January, The Federal Government announced plans to shut the Lagos Island-bound traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge for two weeks commencing from Wednesday, January 13, 2021, as part of ongoing rehabilitation works.
According to Federal Controller, Works Lagos, Engr. Popoola Olukayode, the contractor plans to shift the current diversion point 2km towards Oworonsoki and close to traffic the Lagos Island-bound carriageway including the Adekunle bound slip road beside the current diversion points for two weeks starting from Wednesday, January 12, to 27, 2021 to enable the contractor to remove, replace and cast in place joint 23 after the current diversion point alongside the other two joints, 16 and 17 she is working on presently on the Lagos Island-bound carriageway.
In mid-January, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola announced that the bridge is set to be re-opened to the public by 15th February. According to the minister, most of the construction works are almost done despite the disruptions caused by the civil protest experienced in the country last year which necessitated the movement of the re-opening date.
In late January, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced that the Third Mainland Bridge will be completely closed for 3 days for another round of repairs. According to the Federal Controller of Works Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, the shutdown would take effect from midnight on Friday to midnight of Monday, February 1.
“Construction works have reached the stage for casting concrete on additional three expansion joints, hence the need to stop all movements on the bridge that could cause vibrations,” he said. He further added that the 72 hours closure was to ensure that the concrete sets properly during the curing process’ to make the rehabilitation works perfect and durable.
“Messers Boroni Prono is planning to cast three number expansion joints on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st. This will require total closure of Third Mainland bridge from 12:00 midnight of Friday 29th till midnight of Monday 1st February 2021,” said Popoola.
In late February, the Lagos State Government announced plans to shut the Third Mainland Bridge from midnight, Friday, February 19 to midnight Sunday 21, 2021 for final rehabilitation works. The shut down will allow the contractor to cast the final rehabilitated expansion joint before it will be finally reopened for traffic end of February.
According to the state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, bridge will be shut off completely from vehicular movement to enable the contractor set the expansion joint concrete without vibrations caused by vehicular movement to achieve the desired strength of the concrete. “The concrete would require between three to four days to set in before the final preparations to finally re-open the entire bridge to traffic,” he said.
During the same period, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the bridge would be totally reopened to traffic during the last weekend of the month. “I can tell you now that this weekend, it will be opened definitely; my directors are still in Lagos; the major works have now been finished, so let me say that again by way of information. Definitely this weekend it will be reopened. The reason why I am holding back the exact date is that we are the government. Any time we say something, people must reliably be able to plan their lives around what we say,’’ he said.
According to the minister, lane markings and finishing touches would be done within 25th and 27th February, and the total shutdown of the bridge to happen at midnight on 26th February would be the last before the total reopening.
The bridge was finally opened on the last weekend of February 2021. The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Lagos Sector Command expressed appreciation to the public in the state for patience during the closure of Third Mainland Bridge.
The state’s Sector Commander, Olusegun Ogungbemide urged motorists to drive defensively on the bridge and other corridors within the state. “It has become very imperative for us to enjoin motorists to avoid excessive speed, dangerous overtaking and disregard to lane discipline now that the bridge has been opened for use,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we must say that the public was so co-operative during the entire period the rehabilitation work lasted and this is commendable,” he added.