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.