Due to the perennial traffic gridlock on the port access road and continued parking of articulated vehicles on the Ijora Apapa bridge, experts have warned that the bridge is on the verge of collapse.
An empty 20-feet container weighs 2,000 kilogrammes. A 40-feet container doubles the kilogrammes. With an average truck weighing about 14,000 kilogrammes, the total weight of 25 stationary trucks on a bridge for instance, could be around 450,000 kilogrammes.
Commenting on the situation, a structural Engineer and former President, Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, 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.
“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.
“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, 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.
Urging government to put more effort into solving the problem, he noted the difference between buildings that house car parks and bridges.
While multi-storey parks are designed for the specific purpose, bridges are intended to carry transitional loads within seconds. “They are not designed to retain loads for one hour, two hours, days or weeks,” Ilugbekhai said.
Our investigation has revealed that previous attempts by the Federal Government and Lagos State authorities to curtail the problem have proved abortive.
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