Another difficult driving experience for Apapa-Ijora bridge drivers and commuters has unfolded again as the Federal Government shuts the bridge at the Mobil Road junction for emergency repairs. Due to the ongoing bridge repairs, all vehicles and trucks are required to use the marine bridge exit or the Mobil Road exit to reach the lower levels. Afterwards they are supposed to enter Apapa via the service lane. This round of closures, according to officials, will last three months.
According to records, this year’s closure marks the seventh time in the previous seven years that the Apapa-Ijora bridge has been closed to traffic. The bridge was closed for six months in 2016, four months in 2017, six months in 2018, five months in 2020, and three months in 2021. It was then closed for emergency repairs for three months in 2022, from January 7 to April 2. Motorists, particularly those who live in the port city and are forced to deal with similar closures on a frequent basis have criticized the current shutdown as “one event too many.”
Drivers should prepare themselves for more difficult times.
Apapa area was renowned for its terrible traffic conditions until the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Lagos State government worked together to implement the Eto App (a call up system) in February 2021 to regulate the flow of trucks into and out of the port city. Despite the app’s introduction, drivers and locals in the region are still vulnerable to unpleasant driving encounters. Every time the bridge has to be closed for maintenance, the situation escalates as the trucks and tankers using the route become disorderly and rowdy.
During the weekend, Sola Giwa, an official from Lagos state tasked with traffic management, issued a warning at the bridge, saying that drivers should prepare themselves for more difficult times. He mentioned this even when he assured that officials would strive to ensure a pleasant driving experience throughout the three-month detour. While acknowledging that there might be disruptions during this period, Giwa called on the people to be patient while the federal government repairs the bridge.
Trucks should not be permitted to use the Mobil Road exit.
Furtherly, he suggests that truck drivers utilize the service lane under the bridge to reach Leventis, arguing that drivers cannot afford the chaos that would result from trucks and private vehicles using the same route to Mobil Road. The weekend was a complete and utter mess, with trucks attempting to perform a U-turn on Mobil Road causing a massive traffic jam and many private vehicles being stuck in the middle of the congestion because they weren’t sure when it was safe to make their way into Apapa.
One of the residents of Apapa bemoans the traffic congestion in the neighborhood, which is caused by trailers attempting to do a U-turn, and suggests that trucks should not be permitted to use the Mobil Road exit in order to protect the residents’ mental health as well as their physical safety. In addition to the driving experience, which is, in all honesty, a living hell for them, the locals are also very wary about the potential threat to their safety that is posed by the traffic jam scenario. As a result, they implore the government for improved security in the area.
Residents of the area have also called for increased security.
Another local resident, who praised Giwa for his efforts to maintain order in the neighborhood, has also called for increased security, particularly in Ijora, to protect against armed robberies committed by individuals who will take advantage of the gridlock. Daniel Edward, an Engineer, has proposed that those in charge of the call up system should limit the number of trucks that are sent each day while the road repairs are ongoing. This would help lessen the burden that has been imposed by the current traffic scenario.