Nigeria’s Lagos State Government has completed the Lekki-Ikoyi suspension bridge and it touts it not just Nigeria’s but sub-Saharan Africa’s first.
The bridge, though 1.358km long did not come cheap. It cost about N29 billion, almost $184.6million.
The link bridge will soon be formally commissioned by Governor Babatunde Fashola and a toll will be collected to recoup the investment.
Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Kadri Hamzat, at an interactive session with newsmen said the cost of the bridge is around N29 billion and is the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa because it is a suspension bridge.
The bridge was built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. and has a total length of 1.358 km. The bridge is expected to decongest traffic in Lekki area and is a cynosure of all eyes because of its beauty.
According to Hamzat, Julius Berger has five years contract to maintain the bridge and could be renewed at the expiration of the term.
“In line with the policy of the present administration to ensure that all infrastructural facilities in the state are in conformity with the mega city status by the year 2015, the construction of Admiralty-Alexander (Lekki-Ikoyi) link bridge was conceived as a solution to the problem of the perennial traffic bottleneck on Lekki-Epe Road, particularly around the Elegushi Round About and Lekki Phase I.
“The bridge is designed to serve as a strategic by-pass and to reduce the travel time along Falomo Bridge, Alfred Rewane Road, Independence Bridge and Ahmadu Bello Way. The project will raise the property value along the corridor,” Hamzat said.
The construction of the bridge generated employment for about 315 skilled and unskilled labour throughout the construction period. The bridge is expected to improve the living standard of the people and enhance social interaction, he added.
Julius Berger Nigeria Plc began the construction of the bridge in October, 2008. The total length of the main bridge is 466m. The length of Cable Bridge is 170m (the suspended section), the height of Pyron is 87m from water level navigational requirement while the clearance average 9m above high water level.
The width of the bridge (carriageway) is 8m by 2; walkway of the bridge, 2.0m by 2; road works at Ikoyi End is 338.7m, while the road works at the Lekki End is 311.5m.
According to a brief from the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, the challenges encountered were at the two landing points at Lekki and Ikoyi ends, but negotiations with the affected land owners at Lekki end yielded early resolution which allowed the contractor to commence construction works in October, 2008.
While Lagosians await the formal opening of the bridge, checks show that the bridge will not be Sub-saharan Africa’s first suspension bridge. But it appears to be the longest.
The South Africans hold the record, with more than six suspension bridges, according to Kwintessential.co.uk.
“One of the oldest bridges was constructed in 1898 and is known as the Levey Bridge. The bridge was constructed in Tsomo, South Africa. The main cables are wire suspension.
‘The next bridge is the Centurion, which is a crossing bridge at The Centurion Mall. It also uses wired cables for its suspension. It is a very important footbridge in that region. The Johannesburg footbridge in South Africa as well as the footbridge in Pretoria have suspension systems.
‘The Bloukrans Bridge also known as the Afrikaans Blue Ridges is one of the arch bridges, which were constructed near the tropical rainforest called Nature’s Valley in Western Cape, South Africa. Completed in 1984 the bridge spans 216 m over the Bloukrans River. It is on record as the highest single arch bridge in the world.
‘The central span on the bridge is 272 m and the total length of the bridge is 451m. It is primarily utilized as a highway by a variety of trucks that cross the bridge daily.
‘This makes it the third-highest bridge for commercial bungee jumping at 216 m. The river below is actually the border between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces and is located in the Tsitsikamma, which is part of the Garden Route.
‘The Nelson Mandela Bridge located in Johannesburg, South Africa was constructed in 2003 and cost a pricey R38 million. The main idea was to link Newtown with Braamfontein, both of which are very important business centers in Gauteng. The other objective was to provide an uplifting and modern vista for the city. This initiative was taken by the Blue IQ company.
‘Interestingly enough, the bridge was constructed on top of 42 railway lines and traffic was not disturbed during the construction of this 284 m long bridge. It is a very light structure and engineered to use steel and concrete to keep the weight down. It has two main pylons on the North and South, which are 42 and 27 meters in height respectively. The heavier banks flowing along the bridge were carefully reinforced by the use of heavier back spans.’