By Innocent Orok
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Lagos Area Office, in a strategic response to the partial closure of the iconic third mainland bridge for repairs in Lagos State, has deployed forty feet floating jetties to help bring water transportation services closer to commuters through out the six months repairs duration of the bridge.
The floating jetties are to compliment the flagging off of four brand new water transportation routes located at Adekunle, under the third mainland bridge outward Oworoshonki from Yaba, another at Lekki phase one by NIWA Police Post, Oyingbo and another at Oworoshonki, in bound the Lagos Island.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Media Adviser to NIWA, Frank Meke who said as at Friday, two of the four new routes, at Adekunle (Yaba) and Lekki phase one were opened for immediate operation. While the remaining two at Oworoshonki and Oyingbo will be put to use after minor dreading of the waterfront ambiance.
Engineer Sarat Lara Briamah, Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, disclosed that the effort which is subject to review through out the duration of the repairs on bridge, was in response to bring succour to over 33,000 commuters who ply the all important link bridge in and out of the Island to work and other sundry businesses.
” This alternate transportation services certainly will help reduce traffic flow, save users of the bridge expected stress, loss of valuable man hours and also ease vehicular movement of goods and services out of the Island, not foreclosing the health benefits of using water transportation” Briamah explained while flagging off the activities on Friday in Lagos.
Flanked by the chairman of the Organised Boat Operators in Lagos, Mr Lawal Saheed and staff of NIWA, Engineer Braimah noted that the intervention by the agency was well thought out as the effort will not only bring water transportation services closer to Lagos communities, but will provide the needed data for initiating a blanket floating jetty projects across the vast Lagos Inland Waterways under the watch of the National Inland Waterways Authority to operationalised a revolution on water transportation as a solution to the unexplainable traffic situation in Lagos.
” Our Managing Director, Dr George Moghalu mandated us in Lagos to be futuristic and proactive in the discharge of our obligations and of an inclusive response to the challenge of the partial closure of the bridge, but to also holistically chart a new agenda in opening up certain waterfront areas, deploying floating jetties not just about temporary response, but as strategic plan to make every part of Lagos accessible by water and provide roads on water “She noted
On security and usage of the floating jetties, the NIWA boss in Lagos informed that security will be provided round the clock at the identified take off points by NIWA Police and sister security agencies. While the organised boat operators in Lagos will man the daily operation at the new jetties.
” We are collaborating with the Lagos chapter of the Association Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters
( ATBOWATON) and their Chairman, Mr Lawal Saheed has assured of a hundred percent buy-in on this project” Engineer Braimah further explained, adding that all categories of water transportation services will be monitored to avoid any mishap or sharp practices.
” We are determined to make it work despite lean resources at a time like this and we expect Lagosians to embrace the effort. And to make the new routes popular, we have done radio jingle and likewise, printed hands bills to be distributed at strategic points to motorists and other commuters who will be encouraged to park their vehicles either at home or at the designated jetty areas and take to the waters for ease of doing business even after the bridge is fully opened to capacity operations. She stated.
Already, the big boat transportation services outfits such as Tarzan boats, Texas Connection, sea lift and Seacoach, have signified readiness to deploy their boats to boost the NIWA initiative.