Julius Berger knocked over open bridge joints

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Angry motorists have slammed a construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, over the poor construction work on the Longbridge section of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

They wondered if the company could deliver such “a shoddy job” in its home country in Germany, just as they blamed the Federal Government for not supervising the construction work.

The Longbridge is a five-kilometre bridge stretching from the Warewa end of the expressway to OPIC, Ogun State.

The bridge was among the sections of the expressway firstly reconstructed by the company when the project started.

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However, whenever it rains, floodwater washes off the tar on the expansion joints.

The company had at different times done repair works on the joints, but the problem persisted.

Our correspondent, who took a walk along the corridor, counted close to 20 damaged joints.

Further checks by PUNCH Metro revealed that those points had degenerated into potholes, with the iron bars linking the joints sticking out.

Our correspondent also observed as motorists, commercial and truck drivers plying the route manoeuvred to avoid the bad portions.

Motorists driving inward Ogun State were greeted with the first gapping pothole immediately after the OPIC U-turn.

A driver, Sunday Adebambo, said, “I am shocked to see the extent potholes have filled the Longbridge. The road has become a death trap. I wonder the kind of job the company did here. Is that what they do in their country? I am angry that we have to live with this kind of road and nobody is holding the contractor accountable. When did they reconstruct that bridge and it is already in that condition? I am highly disappointed because I used to know them as a top-quality construction company. Something has to be done about the bad joints. The shock absorbers of my car are damaged because of this Longbridge.”

A motorist, who identified himself as Pat, said the potholes might also endanger the lives of motorists if their vehicles broke down along the bridge.

He said, “The government has to fix those joints before they get worse and put people at security risk. The Longbridge has always been a dangerous place to park whenever it is dark, and now that there are serious potholes there, vehicles can easily break down.”

A road construction expert, Akan Akwa, said any job done below standards would not last.

“If you do not follow a specific standard, it will not last. For you to do a road construction, you need specifications and ensure they are in order. If Julius Berger is responsible for that road, then they need to be called to fix it,” he added.

The Federal Controller of Works, Ogun State, Umar Bakare, told PUNCH Metro that work would soon start on the road.

He said, “We are aware of the potholes at the intervals; they will be fixed by the contractors.”

The supervisor in charge of the Lagos-Sagamu section of the expressway, Wale Adebote, said he was not aware of the damaged bridge.

He said, “I have not been updated on the state of the Longbridge, but I have sent contractors to begin job along that axis. It is the expansion joints and we will start working on them soon.

“You will also agree with me that we are considering the plight of motorists because of the traffic situation recently. But we should start working on it in two days’ time.”

Calls to the phone of the spokesperson for Julius Berger,  Emmanuel Isibor, were not answered.

He had also yet to respond to a text message from our correspondent as of press time.

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