The Lagos State Government and the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, are currently embroiled in a battle of with over who will control traffic when the 3rd Mainland Bridge is shut for repairs.
The 3rd Mainland Bridge will be closed partially between 1 July and November, 2012 to allow for the rehabilitation of the bridge.
The FRSC had announced that it had jurisdiction to control traffic on the bridge when the repair works begin next month but this action has angered the state government which sees it as usurpation of its power by the corps.
“It is unfortunate that Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) had gone to make this announcement; if you look into the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the exclusive legislative list, the only jurisdiction for managing traffic is what Federal Government has in a federal trunk road not on road within municipality of states,” said Governor Babatunde Fashola on Monday in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria while addressing newsmen.
“We cannot continue this desperate encroachment of territories. The constitution clearly sets out roles for different tiers of government responsibility. Therefore, the responsibility of managing and maintaining the 3rd Mainland Bridge is for Federal Government. But maintaining a bridge and managing traffic on it are two different responsibilities.
“The traffic management on it belongs to the state. The bridge that crosses the lagoon within the territory of a city lies within the state control for traffic.
“The trunk road by definition is a road that connects two states. Like the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. That is where the FRSC should be and not within the territory of the municipality of any state,” he added.
Fashola stated that the FRSC had been encroaching on the responsibilities of the state and that this had brought about inaccurate information.
“What we will be doing on the road during the period is that we will be fixing the expansion joint which are the metals between the roads. Contrary to what has been reported, it is not a complete closure but a partial closure. Where diversion will take place depends on the section of the road that will be worked upon.
“While we commend the initiative of the Federal Government to embark on the repair, there is no needless fear because we have done it before and at the time we did this, we all went through it. And today, we are better than where we were before; then, we diverted traffic to Western Avenue, Funsho Williams, Ikorodu Road and also through Murtala Muhammed Way, through Carter bridge on Lagos Island and out.”
The governor added: “At the time we did it, we were constructing some roads and now we are through with the roads. As for the choice of the date, it was an agreement between the federal and state governments that the period should be almost at the end of the third term session and the children’s vacation period so that the traffic congestion on the road will be minimal. However, much of the work will deepen when the pupils are on vacation,” he said.
Fashola stated that the target was that before the end of the year when the traffic was much, the repair works would have been completed, saying that it is actually in the interest of the people.
He said the responsibility of the residents was to make use of alternative routes to help reduce the quantum of vehicles on the road.