‘LASG ban on use of Ojuelegba Bridge by containerized trucks may not work now’
Indications have emerged that Lagos State Government had relied on incessant accidents by containerized trucks and cargoes coming from Apapa Port on Ojuelegba Bridge to ban use of related vehicles on the bridge.
However, port operators and some tanker/trailer drivers have picked holes on the ban, saying it may not work now considering the bad state of Tincan Port axis of the port exit road.
In an interview with one of the trailer drivers in Apapa port on Thursday, he said “Climbing Ojuelegba Bridge is one of the most fearful experiences in leaving the port with heavy cargoes”.
“From our experiences as drivers of articulated vehicles, I think, even though am not a road engineer, there is a construction error right from the foot of the bridge to the descending portion in Ojuelegba. We have observed that the rising-curve of the bridge is not designed to allow passage of long, spacious and heavy vehicles.
“We climb so many other bridges, but the sharp rising-curve of that Ojuelegba is something else.
So am not usually surprised when I hear that a long vehicle fell from the bridge.
“For all of us that are drivers of articulated vehicles doing business in papa, the best way out remains Tincan port access road; that is, Apapa-Oshodi expressway, but that road had been inaccessible for donkey years and nothing tangible is being made to repair it.
“Advantages of that road over Ojuelegba are so many including low-lying, spacious and always free, but now, the road is the worst strategic highway in Nigeria.
Business Hilights recalls that a containerized truck fell on four vehicles at Ojuelegba on Tuesday night at about 8:30p.m and number of deaths on Thursday, rose to three.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) had reported that a truck with unknown registration number laden with wooden sheets tilted while negotiating the curved part of the bridge, causing the container to fall on three commercial buses and a saloon car down the bridge, leaving many others injured.
General Manager of LASEMA, Adesina Tiamiyu said the prompt response by emergency and security agents saved two trapped victims as they were extracted from the crushed vehicles.
According to him, “Two trapped victims were extracted with the aid of the agency’s light rescue equipment and immediately taken to the hospital by the officials of the Lagos State Ambulance Service for further medical treatment but unfortunately three male adults were confirmed dead.
“The agency and other responders ensured that all the wooden sheets and accidented vehicles were cleared off the road to avoid any secondary incident and free flow of traffic around the axis. Proper investigation would be conducted on the incident.
“Heavy-duty drivers should ensure that their vehicles are in good conditions and that loaded goods are properly secured to the flat bed before embarking on any journey. Overloading of trucks should also be discouraged as it oftentimes lead to fatal accidents on the highway,” he said.
According to an eyewitness, the truck was moving on high speed when the plywoods tilted off the truck and fell on a bus and a Camry car.
A bus driver known as Aro and a National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) official known as Ijebu have been identified as those who lost their lives, while the occupant of the Camry car escaped death by the whiskers.
A trader at the bus stop, Ganiyat Adekunle, said the driver of the bus was calling on passengers when the incident happened, but there were no passengers inside the bus.
Adekunle added that the people already inside alighted from the bus when it refused to get filled on time or leave the bus-stop, not knowing they were moving some steps away from an untimely death.
Ijebu was busy collecting money from the driver at the time the incident occurred.
Some passersby were also injured and were rushed to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) immediately.”
A bus driver, Emehara Eze, who said he was in shock on how he was saved from the jaws of death, due to his refusal to hike the transport fare like his colleagues.
He said: “Others were asking passengers to pay N300 fare but I decided to reduce mine to N200 so I can leave on time.
Aro who died was to load after me, I had not reached the next bus-stop when I heard what happened.”
He however, commended the swift response of LASEMA for preventing more casualties.