Most of the pains that people will go through in Lagos as the Third Mainland Bridge is being fixed are avoidable. They are part of the larger lessons about the consequences of poor planning. It is a great idea to maintain the bridge, but more thoughts should have been invested in minimising disruption of life.
Obviously, the loss to the economy makes no meaning to those who took the decision without adequate plans about movements while the repairs lasted. They tell people to use public transport, board the ferry or stay at home. Our rights to movement and safety are important.
The fixing of the bolts and cracks on the Third Mainland Bridge is not the cause of these pains. We are suffering from years of failed plans. The suffering would continue since governments think only in terms of "fixing eroded bolts and cracks".
For starts, two bridges are not enough for a Lagos that is bursting at its seams. When the bridges were built, they were barely adequate for the population and economic activities the city supports. It is almost a miracle the bridges have survived the heavy trucks that move goods daily from the ports.
The heavy traffic in Lagos and the heavier containers that are a feature of its roads have worsened over the years without the rails to bear part of the burden. Plans for a fourth bridge have withered under other considerations.
Maintenance of public facilities is commendable, but they could be done without benumbing consequences we are facing. The welfare of the people is important. It is insulting to tell people "to stay at home if they cannot bear the traffic snarl".
Commuters - many of who are on their way to work - are expected to be productive after going through the stress. Security on the routes thieves normally rob motorists remains an issue. We have to go through these to repair a bridge?
The alternative routes we are offered are no alternatives. What the authorities are doing is simply divert traffic away from the construction. Ordinarily, Third Mainland Bridge has its traffic jams, same for Ikorodu Road, which now bears most of the diversions. Commercial buses are exploiting the situation, charging fares to match the wastes in time and fuel. How will people make the extra money to see them through the next five months of this agony?
Government should note that ferry services were used in Lagos more than 30 years ago. Lateef Jakande's Baba Kekere served Lagos well then. If government had built on that effort, Lagos would have had a viable alternative means of transportation. Hopefully, by the next repair we would not witness these pains.