The Director, Federal Highways, South West, Mr Adedamola Kuti on Saturday, announced that the Ijesha bus stop pedestrian bridge on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos State, has been shutdown for safety concerns.
It was recalled that the bridge was damaged by a truck on Wednesday.
Kuti while inspecting the cordoned pedestrian bridge, told Journalists that it was not structurally safe because some beams and slabs of the infrastructure were damaged by the reckless truck driver and its closure became inevitable. “Wednesday, early morning of 16th March, 2022, a truck was coming from Apapa axis, probably, the truck must have been faulty with its bucket opened and raised and it was coming on top speed and getting here, of course it could not go because it was already up, it hit the pedestrian bridge.
“This pedestrian bridge has been here for more than 30 years and this is just a deliberate destruction of public infrastructure,” he said.
He said the headroom of the Ijesha foot bridge was higher than the normal heights for bridges and accommodated all kinds of trucks and containers with lots of top spaces left but the reckless driver damaged it because his buckets were hanging high up.
He said the truck driver had been apprehended, would be made liable for the cost of repairs and also prosecuted for deliberate damage to public infrastructure. He lamented that the Federal Government was expending huge resources to construct and repair roads and other infrastructure and it was not fair that such facilities got damaged or abused by residents.
“But for now, the issue of safety is very important to us, we are going to shut down this pedestrian bridge for the main time by not allowing the public to make use of it for safety reasons pending the time we fix the repairs.
“We are bringing in our contractor to asses the level of damage and then check the integrity of the bridge,” he said.
Kuti said some of the beams and slabs of the damaged facility that were hanging delicately would be removed immediately to prevent further accidents.
He appealed to pedestrians and other road users to bear with government while assuring speedy rehabilitation of the bridge. Kuti said the Police were already on ground to ensure safety around the damaged facility and that calls had been put through to the Federal Roads Safety Corps and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to assist pedestrians.
Kuti appealed to pedestrians who now had to cross the highway to apply caution for safety while crossing the expressway.
He appealed to motorists to make sure their vehicles were in good condition before they put them on the road to avoid unnecessary risk to other road users.
“Whatever needs to be done to protect lives and property around here, we shall do them,” he said.
Some pedestrians who spoke to NAN expressed fear and worries over the danger of dashing across the expressway.
Mrs Bukky Babalola, a trader told NAN that her children and several others in her neighborhood had stopped going to school because of inability to cross the expressway.
“I cannot run across the expressway because of my weight. For safety, I usually take commercial motorcycle to Cele Bus stop to go and use the bridge there.
“Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps officials helped to control traffic for pedestrians to cross only for one day and went away. Our lives and that of our families are in danger, government should quickly repair this bridge,” she said.
Also, a commercial bus driver, Mr Godswill Okoronkwo said the risk was two way because some pedestrians dashed across the highway without properly checking, thereby compounding risk of accidents, urging government to speedy fix the bridge.