The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Olukayode Popoola, yesterday, advised the public to stay off the Airport Road flyover in Lagos, which was burnt by fire, pending the determination of its structural safety.
The bridge, which runs over Toyota Bus Stop on the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworosoki Expressway, was engulfed by fire when a petrol tanker laden with diesel burst into flames on Thursday.
Popoola, who led federal and Lagos State governments officials, yesterday, on a joint inspection to ascertain the extent of damage to the bridge and adjoining roads, raised concerns over the safety of the bridge, saying its structural integrity had yet to be ascertained.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the inspection that samples were being taken from the burnt bridge for analysis to ascertain the level of damage and where to carry out repairs.
He said 200 metres of the rigid pavement of the expressway reconstruction project being carried by the Dangote Group was burnt, adding that the deck of the flyover was burnt and its pier badly damaged, raising fears of the structural instability of the bridge.
The controller said the bridge was barricaded after the fire because of safety concerns, regretting that the barriers were removed at night.
Popoola warned that there would be risks in using the bridge, noting: “We are taking some samples to go and analyse before we know the structural stability, but physically, a lot of damage has been done to this pier of the bridge. Its integrity is already compromised.
“We are advising that members of the public should not take the risk of using this bridge.”
He stated that one of the piers (pillars of the bridge) was badly burnt, making the ministry unsure of the structural integrity and safety of the bridge, saying outcome of tests would ensure appropriate action on the flyover constructed by Julius Berger Plc, as well as the highway under reconstruction by the Dangote Group.
Popoola stressed that the Federal Highway Act empowers his ministry to prosecute whoever caused damage to assets of the Federal Government, adding that the ministry had been working in collaboration with Lagos State Government to tackle trucks’ menace and other infractions affecting road infrastructure.
Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs. Aramide Adeyoye, said the state government, through its Ministry of Transportation, would embark on strict enforcement of roadworthiness regulation.
She disclosed that government’s agents would begin to enter depots and loading bays for petrol tankers to ensure that those that are not road worthy would not lift petroleum products, regretting that truck accidents causing damage to road infrastructure had become recurrent.
“Oftentimes, they claim that the roads are bad. What do you say about this one now that the road is very good, there is no pothole anywhere,” she queried, adding that some truck accidents are most times caused by reckless driving.
She called for attitudinal change, saying fires caused by tanker accidents had caused much hardship on road users and urged road unworthy trucks to stop coming into Lagos State.
She said Federal Government’s support was important in tackling the hydra-headed monster.
Deputy Corps Commander (Operations), Lagos Sector Command of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), Cyril Zango, said the offending truck had been impounded and investigations were on, adding that if found guilty, the owner and driver of the tanker would be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other road users.