By Grace Alegba
Lagos, Jan. 14, 2021 The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola on Thursday gave artisans plying their trade along the burnt section of the Lagos Airport Road flyover two weeks to vacate the area.
Naija247news reports that the Flyover which spans the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway project being reconstructed, was engulfed by fire when a petrol tanker burst into flames on Jan. 7.
Following the incident the Federal government immediately shut the bridge and on Jan. 8 warned the public to stay off the Airport Road Flyover pending the determination of its structural safety.
Fashola during inspection of the bridge examined the walls of the burnt piers before going round to educate the traders on the dangers of carrying out commercial activities in the vicinity thereby, damaging road infrastructure.
He told the traders that street trading jeopardised both their safety and that of the road and gave the traders and artisans two weeks to vacate the area around the flyover.
He advised them to relocate to the Matori Industrial Estate in Ladipo purposely built by the Jakande government for commercial activities.
“This is not a market, you don’t do business on the road, I am giving you two weeks to vacate this place,” he said.
Fashola told journalists that “two weeks was reasonable time for trespassers” to vacate the highway.
He added that work would soon commence on the service lanes of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki rehabilitation/reconstruction project where 20 kilometers of work had been completed.
Speaking on the fire that engulfed the bridge, Fashola said that integrity test carried out on the bridge showed the level of damages to both the bridge deck and its pier.
He explained that efforts were in place to repair the bridge to make it safe again for use.
“That Airport Road Flyover will not be available for some time,” he said.
He said that he had directed the FRSC to carry out investigation and provide information on cause of accident and owner of the vehicle, adding that, they will face sanctions if found guilty.
He added that measures were in place to work with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation on prosecution of reckless articulated vehicle drivers causing avoidable accidents and fires destroying roads and bridges in Lagos State.
Fashola also said that the Federal Government was going to liaise with the Lagos State Government on training and retraining of drivers towards attitude change.
He added that road signages would be increased on Lagos highways stating that preliminary investigations by experts revealed that the articulated vehicles accidents and fires were caused by speeding.
He listed bridges recently destroyed by fire in Lagos to include the Kara, Otedola and Obalende bridges.
Earlier, the Director, Bridges and Designs, Mr Emmanuel Adeoye, while making his presentation told the minister that a Pier on the burnt Airport Road Flyover was “badly affected by the fire”
Also, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Okukayode Popoola explained traffic diversion arrangements on ground through Oshodi for those hurrying to catch flights at the airport.
The minister was accompanied on the trip by the Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Roads Safety Corps, Mr Olusegun Ogungbemide and law enforcement agencies who received directives on traffic and security around the flyover.