Tanker fire: Lagos conducts integrity test on FESTAC link bridge

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Lagos State Government, through the State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), has ordered immediate closure of a section of the recently burnt FESTAC link bridge.

The closure, according to government, is as a result of advice by its Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, that the integrity of a section of the bridge is in doubt, and therefore, needed to be closed down for repairs.

LASTMA General Manager, Olawale Musa, in a statement, yesterday, said the precautionary decision was taken in order to save lives and properties of motorists and other users of the Amuwo Odofin- FESTAC link bridge.

A section of the bridge got burnt over a week ago, when a fully loaded petrol tanker upturned and spilled its content which led to fire outbreak.

“The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority wishes to inform motorists inward and outward of FESTAC Town, using the link bridge, that they would now be restricted to one section of the bridge, for safety and easy movement of vehicles.”

Musa, who spoke after carrying out an on-the-spot assessment of the flow of traffic in the area, said closure of a section of the bridge for repairs would not necessarily lead to traffic gridlock and hardship along the axis, and assured that adequate arrangement had been made to minimise the impact on connectivity.

Already, Musa said the agency has commenced earnest mobilisation of men and materials to the area, in order to ensure free flow of traffic.

He said yesterday’s visit was to enable him take a critical look of the area, with a view to mapping out the best traffic management and control strategy that would reduce the negative impact of the closure on motorists and commuters.

“We like to assure motorists and residents that more men and materials have been deployed to the axis. To this end, we urge residents of the area, especially motorists and commuters to exercise patience and cooperate with traffic officials for traffic to flow within the period,” Musa said.

In a related development, National Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Salmon Oladiti, has charged tanker drivers to continue to exercise extreme care on the road, especially during the Yuletide.

Oladiti spoke on the heels of the tanker explosion at FESTAC, which left more than 20 vehicles and some motorcycles completely burnt. Nobody died in the inferno.

Oladiti, in a statement signed by the group’s Public Relations Officer, Atanda Adebayo, said the incident has dented the growing profile of PTD which recorded a zero accident across the country in the second half of the year.

He said statistics released by the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) showed a drastic reduction in the rate of tanker accidents across the country.

He said: “We are saddened by this accident which occurred just as we are about celebrating a tanker accident-free record, as reported by the FRSC.

“Although we are grateful that no one died in the accident, it, however, caused a lot of damages as the explosion led to the burning of so many cars and motorcycles.”

He asked God to console those who lost their properties to the accident and charged them to see beyond the accident, knowing that when there is life, there is hope.

He tasked his officers to continue to adhere to the various training programmes organised for them at various times and to eschew recklessness on the wheels and added that they must observe great care in driving, especially during the Yuletide.

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