The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges that connects Lagos Island to the mainland; the other is the Eko and Carter bridges. It was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the 6th October Bridge was completed in Cairo.
The bridge actually starts from Oworonshoki, linked to the Apapa-Oshodi expressway and Lagos-Ibadan expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island.
There is also a link midway through the bridge that leads to Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba. Julius Berger Nigeria PLC built the bridge construction. The phase one of the projects was commissioned by the then President Shehu Shagari in 1980, and President Ibrahim Babangida later completed it in 1990; it measures about 11.8 km in length.
As of 2006, Many commuters had reported that the Third Mainland Bridge was vibrating noticeably, therefore indicating that it needed urgent attention. As a result, remedial work was commenced on the bridge portions at different times, leading to the partial closure of the bridge at different times. As of January 2013, this work was completed.
But recently, there have been rising rumours of cracks on the bridge. This, however, was denied by authorities. The eight-lane bridge experienced a new look during the last repairing exercise, painting the bridge guide with the colour of Nigeria green, white, green, and also general painting was carried out for a new look. The repair works on the bridge has been completed and was opened on 30 October 2012.
The Third Mainland Bridge has always had very high vehicular traffic during weekdays. Many residents commute to and fro the Lagos Mainland to the Island, the commercial hub of Lagos State. Several residents in Ikeja, Agboyi-Ketu, Ikorodu, Isheri, Oworonshoki, Gbagada, Yaba, Maryland and Oshodi.
The Third Mainland Bridge is one of the most important routes of Lagos’ daily commuting, and as such requires to be constantly renovated. It has also come to be a major Lagos icon, offering different views of Lagos, the Lagos Lagoon, the University of Lagos Waterfront and Makoko, a shantytown built on the Lagos Lagoon.
Meanwhile, on 6 July 2020, it was announced that the Third Mainland Bridge would be closed for six months due to repairs. The bridge was to undergo other rounds of repairs from Friday, July 24, 2020, to January 24, 2021, to replace bearings and worn-out expansion joints to prolong its life.
Far back in the 1970s, following the end of Nigeria’s civil war, a period where there was an increase in oil price and Nigeria went through a series of economic upturns. A need for improved infrastructural facilities, especially in Lagos’ capital city, had gone through a period of port congestion and then an upward tick in vehicular traffic and thus created the high need for a third bridge linking the commercial-oriented Lagos Island with the growing urban settlements of mainland Lagos.
The contract for constructing was awarded for a third mainland bridge in 1976. The Construction of the bridge was done in phases. The first phase was contracted to a PGH consortium, a venture consisting, Impresit Girola and Borini Prono, while Trevi Group provided support services for piling.
The first phase was designed to be 5 kilometres in length, starting from the Island and ending at Ebute Metta, towards Yaba. The bridge elevated to 3 kilometres above the water and made from pre-stressed reinforced concrete. Also, the foundation piles had varying depths of between 36 and 54 meters, and pile diameter is based on potential carrying road, diameters of 1500mm are used for the main bridge crossing the Lagos lagoon and for the slipway and approach roads, pile diameter was between 800mm and 1200mm. The first phase was completed in 1980. The second phase of the Bridge’s construction was to begin from Ebute-Metta to Oworonshoki, and it was awarded to Julius Berger in Nigeria.
It was also recorded, according to a traffic report on Third Mainland Bridge in 2002, the number of vehicles in both directions recorded in 12 hours was 180,902 vehicles, which may have doubled or tripled after 16 years.
It might be of interest to know that “Third Mainland Bridge” isn’t the official name of the bridge, it was used to identify the bridge, being the third one that connects the Lagos Island to the Mainland. It has since overshadowed the official name of the bridge, which is “Ibrahim Babangida Bridge.”
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