Partial closure of 3rd mainland bridge:  Fear grips commuters  over safety of waterways   

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Partial closure of 3rd mainland bridge:  Fear grips commuters  over safety of waterways   

 Peter Olaniyi   |   

Commuters have expressed serious doubt over the safety of waterways as an alternative means of transportation following the partial closure of the third mainland bridge.
It would be recalled the Federal government last Friday partially closed the popular bridge for six months to carry out major remedial work on the facility.
To cushion the attendant pains that commuters are most likely to encounter during this period,  the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) said it has deployed floating jetties to help bring water transportation services closer to commuters throughout the six months’ duration of the repair of the bridge.

But motorists who use the very strategic  3rd Mainland bridge have expressed fears over safety of the waterways even though they preferred to embrace water transportation to get to their various destinations.

The passengers’ fear is borne out of the recent boat mishaps that have occurred on Lagos waterways.

An opinion sampling poll of passengers by our correspondent confirmed that women between the age bracket of 45-60 years prefer to take a longer route to their destination than boarding ferries at jetties, while men between the same age bracket were indifferent.

 But a larger percentage of youths between the age bracket of 20-40 years prefer to use the waterways than to take a longer route via road to their destination.

Speaking to our correspondent at the CMS jetty in Marina,  Mr. Joseph Folorunsho in his late 50s said: “ I stay at Ikorodu, even before they announced the closure of the third mainland bridge, I have been taking boat to Ikorodu, I see no reason I should be afraid, I prefer traveling by water than by road, for me, there is no cause for alarm, we will only advise the boat operators to be more careful and not to carry overload”.

But, Mrs. Juliana Aina who is in her 60s, said she would rather take a longer route than to resort to water transportation.

She said her fear of water transportation is as a result of the recent boat mishaps experienced on the waterways.

“I have a phobia for water, so I will rather take a longer route by road than for me to travel by boats, not even with the news of boat mishaps on the waterways, so for me, I won’t advise anybody close to me to use the waterways’, she said.

Speaking also, as serving member of the National Youths Service Corp, among other youths who spoke to our correspondent said, traveling by water during the partial closure of the third mainland will be fun for him, while stating that there is need for regulatory agencies to ensure that boat operators adhere to the rules of passengers putting on life jackets and as well avoid night traveling.

Also speaking to our correspondent , the spokesperson of LASWA; Mrs Nkechi Ajayi said that LASWA intends to increase operations and enhance infrastructure on the Jetties and Terminals that will be most impacted by the partial closure and traffic management of the third mainland bridge.

“The Marine Police are being briefed on the importance of their monitoring, particularly this period as there will be increased activities on the inland waterways.

“LASWA and NIWA would embark on constant monitoring with its patrol boats to ensure strict enforcement of laid down rules and regulations .”

Ajayi also said that the Lagos State Bus Services Limited will be providing buses at this period at Strategic Jetties and Terminals to serve as Last mile connectivity for Passengers.

While speaking on safety on the waterways, she said LASWA will collaborate with LASEMA and Safety Commission for the implementation of the following immediate goals, Safety procedures for Boat Operators and Passengers during the partial closure period

“Collaborative efforts to be put in place which include having Safety Marshals and Water Guards stationed at strategic jetties to implement safety protocols.

“Strategic positioning of Rescue boats, Land Ambulances and other Safety Personnel at strategic locations.

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