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Expert warns of risks as FG clears air on Third Mainland Bridge damages

Expert warns of risks as FG clears air on Third Mainland Bridge damages
June 09
12:52 2023

The federal government has cleared the air on the visible damages to the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

Pictures of the damaged sections of the 11km bridge have been making the rounds online.

There were reports that the bridge’s pile caps – the thick concrete mat used to create a stable foundation – were unduly removed and left exposed.

Responding to the issue, the federal ministry of works in a statement on Friday, said the pile caps were not vandalised but were chiselled by contractors during repair works.

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The contractors, after removing the pile caps, were subsequently sacked by the government over “non-performance” before the completion of their jobs, leaving the caps exposed for months.

“There is no vandalisation of any part of the bridge’s sub-structure, the photograph circulating in the media refers to the prepared/chiselled section of the ongoing rehabilitation works on the bridge. Hence, the bridge is safe for public use,” the statement reads.

EXPERT’S CONCERNS

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Though the ministry has assured motorists of safety on the bridge, Remi Opakunle, a civil engineer, told TheCable that continuous exposure of the pile caps spells imminent risks to the bridge.

Opakunle said: “It’s scary. Saltwater damages rebars. It corrodes rebars and reduces their strength by as much as 60% in some instances. Those rebars have been exposed to the progressive incursion of salt water for at least 6 months.

“Which engineer in his or her mind would sack a contractor doing remedial works on a pile cap that the rebars had already been exposed and would not instruct protective measures on the already exposed rebars while contractual issues are being sorted?

“Worst case, instruct that thick salt water-resistant epoxy resin be used to coat the exposed surface and do a 50mm slurry cover after the epoxy treatment, which the contractor that will continue the work can easily strike off when work resumes.

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“If that had been done, which I doubt from the pictures, there would have been an epoxy greyish tinge on the rebars.”

Meanwhile, TheCable reported that the federal executive council (FEC) approved the sum of N6.28 billion for surface maintenance of the bridge.

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Babatunde Fashola, former minister of works and housing, disclosed this in April.

He added that the repairs will last for 24 months and will cover interchanges, ramps and critical links of the bridge.

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