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Commuters groan over Third Mainland Bridge closure: Complain about chaotic traffic, seek reprieve

Commuters going to Lagos Island through Iyana Oworo had a chaotic time yesterday. Following the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge by the Federal Government, many road users spent several hours in traffic.

The government had, on Tuesday, announced partial closure of the Iyana Oworoshoki/Adeniji Adele-bound carriageway of the Third Mainland Bridge for eight weeks to pave way for repairs,

The closure was aimed at enabling the contractor handling the rehabilitation to continue the work, which was suspended on December 14 on account of Yuletide celebrations.

The closure is at the intersection where motorists from Ojota link the bridge via the Island-bound carriageway. The development left many commuters stranded at bus stops due to a shortage of vehicles. Consequently, commercial bus drivers capitalised on the situation and increased fares by almost a hundred per cent.

A civil servant resident in Mowe, Ogun State, Kunle Ojo, said he left home as early 5:30 a.m., but could not reach his office at Obalende till 10:00 a.m.

Ojo said apart from the traffic, many commercial buses refused to follow the route, resulting in a fare hike. He said a ride from Seven-Up to Obalende, which usually cost between N400 and N600, jumped to N700.

Some commuters at Iyana Oworo were forced to trek, while several vehicles broke down after spending long hours in traffic. Mike Haruna, an engineer, said the closure disrupted his travel plans.

“One has to spend seven to eight hours on things you’d normally do within an hour. It will also affect the return journey when only the outbound side will be open. With the fuel situation, you can see how terrible it is for businesses,” he said.

On the use of alternative routes, Harunah said motorists who plied them complained that it was no easy affair. He urged the government to speed up the repairs to minimise the duration of the closure. He also called on the authorities to factor in the sufferings of commuters.

He suggested that the government could utilise existing infrastructure, such as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to transport commuters during specific hours. He said this would prevent private operators from exploiting the situation and charging exorbitant fares.

At New Garage, Iyana Oworo, drivers charged Ajah-bound passengers N2,000, instead of N700. Commuters bound for Obalende paid between N900 and N1,200, instead of the usual N300. Also, Adeniji-bound passengers paid N700, instead of N200.

A passenger, Tochi Ogbowa, said: “I have spent 30 minutes here and still couldn’t board a bus to Obalende. Drivers are charging N1,000 to Adeniji and Obalende. I was not aware that the road would be closed. The government should have repaired the road during the festive period. This is a period when people are returning to work and businesses are picking up.”

Another commuter, Ramat Oladipupo, said: “I have been here for 30 minutes and I have not been able to board any bus. I was aware that the road will be closed but I didn’t know it would be like this. The government should help to speed up the repair. I am going to Adeniji and they are charging N700, instead of N200 or N300.

Another passenger, Tenzy Mathew, complained: “I have been here for two hours because they are charging N2,000 to Lekki. I am not aware that the road would be closed. I returned back to Lagos on Tuesday and I am not aware of the closure and I don’t have the money to board a vehicle to Lekki. It’s unfair to increase the fare from N700 to N2,000.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukorede Kesha, appealed to Lagosians to bear with the government and collaborate with traffic regulators.

The Laurels International Magazine


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