Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) has warned that Abuja,Kaduna, Kano bridges are showing severe cracking, while calling for immediate maintenance.
It said that while huge sums being committed to roads are primarily for resurfacing only, no one is paying attention to maintenance of bridges.
Danladi Matawal, the Director-General of NBRRI, disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja titled; ‘Italian Genoa Bridge Collapse: Any Lesson for Nigeria’.
The agency said while incidences of collapse of bridges is very rare in Nigeria, smaller bridges have failed in this country in the Kontagora and Mokwa areas of Niger state in 2017 and 2018.
“In 2016, following some public outcry, NBRRI Bridge Research team visited a certain Tamburawa bridge near Kano; after which a technical report of what was discovered was released and in 2017, the Federal Ministry of Works and Power awarded contract for the remediation of Tamburawa bridge,” Matawal said
The D.G revealed that it was not only Tamburawa bridge alone, afterall, that had its Piles extensively exposed representing structural risk of a very high severity rating but literally all bridges on this route have now been identified to be in the same state as Tamburawa.
He stated: “NBRRI got the impression that other bridges needed to be studied and it is not easy to go beneath a bridge deck, but NBRRI has currently completed field work on all bridges from Abuja – Kaduna – Kano using drone inspections and a report is being processed.”
“Additionally, there is severe cracking on most of the substructural and superstructural elements of these bridges, the bearings displaced or malaligned, beams distressed, etc. The logical thing is for NBRRI to immediately dispatch different teams to all routes in the country.”
Matawal added that while it is logical for NBRRI to immediately dispatch different team to all routes in the country since the programme has already been mapped out, but decried that there are serious funding and personnel shortages.
He said: “Experience gained needs to be taught to other teams to perform, more field Vehicles and Drones are needed and maybe a Central coordinating unit directing studies and analysing measurements taken from the field set up in the headquarters in Abuja.
“NBRRI sent a team to the sites in Mokwa area in 2017 and there is a definite report and opinion but who cares? Afterall it occurred again in 2018 and NBRRI raised a team to visit again, this time with some FERMA engineers, but funding has held the team back and they will ultimately be there anyway.”
“There is the need to allocate parallel R&D funds to NBRRI as roads and bridges are constructed. Example, when “SUKUK” funds were raised and spread on roads rehabilitation in the country, did we think that the premier cognate Research Institute (NBRRI) in the country would need some small percentage of the US$100billion fund to continue to support with sustainable solutions?