Experts Raise Alarm Over Imminent Collapse of Apapa Bridges

Federal Ministry of Works and Housing
Bridges in Lagos, particularly Apapa axis, are at risk of collapse because of the weight of parked heavy-duty trucks on them. These bridges are under great stress from immobile articulated vehicles, a situation worsened by recurring gridlocks and the deplorable state of roads leading to ports and tank farms.

Besides the weight of other vehicles, t has been estimated that the total weight of 25 stationary truck on a bridge to be around 450,000 kilogrammes. This implies that the bridges in Apapa could be carrying several million kilogrammes of weight daily.

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While commenting on the situation, a structural engineer and former president, Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, NIStructE, Victor Oyenuga, said “It is not right for trucks and tankers to park on bridges because the bridges were not designed as parks for them. When these vehicles are stationary on the bridges for a long time, they have negative impacts. These include deterioration, bridge-fatigue, damage or even collapse.

“There is also the risk of fire outbreak. If any of the articulated vehicles catches fire, there would be a chain reaction, which can cause severe damage to the bridge.

“We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder because the bridges are weakening by the day, as tankers, trucks and articulated vehicles park on them due to traffic congestion.

“The load on these bridges, not originally designed to host heavy static vehicles, and a lack of consistent and thorough maintenance could spell tragedy”.

Oyenuga noted that bridges are designed for movement of goods and services. He therefore condemned the indiscriminate parking of trucks and tankers on bridges.

He said, “Something should be done to stop it very fast because of the negative effect on the infrastructure and possible disaster in the event of a collapse”.

Also commenting on the situation, another past president of NIStructE, Dr. Samuel Ilugbekhai, said the state of the bridges is one of gross structural abuse, stressing that they were not designed to bear enormous weight from static trailers and tankers, and warned that their life spans could be shortened.

While noting that multistorey parks are designed are designed for the specific purpose and bridges are intended to carry transitional loads within seconds, he urged the government to put more effort into solving the problem.

Federal Controller of Works in Lagos state, Engr. Olukayode Popoola, could not be reached for his comment as all efforts made proved abortive.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government and Lagos State authorities had made previous attempts to curtail the problem but the efforts yielded no fruitful result.