Third Mainland Bridge; 7 Interesting Facts

Third Mainland Bridge
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The longest bridge in West Africa, the Third Mainland Bridge, has many mysteries you don’t know yet. This article highlights the top interesting facts about the bridge.

Third Mainland Bridge

Third Mainland Bridge – An Introduction

Being a coastal city, Lagos has some spectacular engineering structures that help make transportation easier.

One such structure is the Third Mainland Bridge, which is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland.

The other bridges in Lagos are the Eko bridge and the Carter bridge.

The 3rd Mainland Bridge was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when The 6th October Bridge in Cairo was completed.

The famous Lagos bridge starts from Oworonshoki, which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi expressway and Lagos-Ibadan expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island.

The bridge, sometimes known as Ibrahim Babangida Boulevard, spans 11.8km and is an essential part of Lagos’ daily commuting.

It has also become a major Lagos icon and tourist attraction.

It offers different views of Lagos – the Lagos Lagoon, the University of Lagos Waterfront, and Makoko, a shantytown built on the Lagos Lagoon.

The bridge carries eight lanes of traffic, four in each direction with a structure to mark the division between the two sets of lanes running down the center.

These eight lanes aren’t the only fascinating thing about the 3rd Mainland Bridge as there are more to blow your mind!

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Facts about the Third Mainland Bridge

1. The Longest Bridge in West Africa.

With all the bridges in Nigeria and West Africa, including those in Ghana, Cameroon, Benin Republic, and other West African countries, the 3rd Mainland Bridge is the longest.

The bridge has a length of approximately 11.8km.

2. It Cost Less Than A Billion Naira to Finish the Bridge

When the bridge project was made known, one of the construction companies in Nigeria, Julius Berger, was contracted to head the project.

It cost the administration less than a billion naira to complete it in 1990 eventually. 

If you’re wondering how much was used to construct the third mainland bridge, you now have your answer.

However, an extra billion went into the renovation of the bridge about 23 years later.

Two times after that, in 2016 and 2018, it was closed off for maintenance when commuters complained of feeling vibrations when driving on the bridge.

In 2020, there were moves to renovate the bridge again.

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3. The Bridge Was the Longest Bridge in Africa for Six Years

From the Third Mainland Bridge commissioning in 1990 until 1996, it remained the longest bridge in Africa.

The 6th October Bridge only displaced it in 1996.

The 6th October Bridge total length is about 20.5 km, and the bridge is in Egypt’s capital city of Cairo.

Third Mainland Bridge is, however, still on the list of the longest bridges in Africa.

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4. The Actual Name of the Bridge is the Ibrahim Babangida Bridge

For many Lagos residents who had called this bridge the 3rd Mainland Bridge all their lives, it would be hard to believe that they were actually using a moniker to refer to the most famous bridge in Lagos state and Nigeria.

Yes. The bridge was named after Gen Ibrahim Babangida, the Head of State that commissioned and completed the bridge.

If you’re wondering the real name of the third mainland bridge or which government started third mainland bridge, you now have your answer.

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5. The Third Mainland is the Most Popular Bridge in Nigeria

There are many bridges in Nigeria, but the two most popular ones are the Onitsha bridge (River Niger bridge) and the Third Mainland bridge.

Judging by the amount of cars that pass on the bridge on a regular day, the Third Mainland Bridge is the most popular.

Regardless of how wide it is, there are times when traffic jams occur on the bridge.

Its notoriety for being a choice spot for people who have given up on their lives has made it more popular.

This has inspired the creation of several support groups who take turns to monitor the sidewalks of the bridge, looking out for individuals trying to commit suicide.

6. The Third Mainland Bridge Construction

The bridge carries eight lanes of traffic, four in each direction.

There’s a median separator, a structure to mark the division between the two sets of lanes running down the center.

The Engineers used two slender concrete shafts for each of the bridge’s piers. (Piers are upright supports for a structure such as a bridge or arch.)

The project team built most of the bridge’s spans at 45m, though some were up to 60m. (A span is a distance between two of a bridge’s piers.)

The overall width of the structure is 33.1m, including 3.5m for the median separator.

Before starting the construction, engineers constructed an artificial island in Lagos Lagoon at the point where the bridge met the road interchange at Ebute Metta.

The scheme used reinforced concrete to construct the main bridge.

The structure’s deck (the part that carries traffic) was also made of reinforced concrete.

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7. It Has the Most Traffic in Lagos and Nigeria At Large

Though other bridges link the Lagos Island and the mainland, the 3rd mainland bridge is the most commuted.

Some individuals find it easier to use the bridge while some other drivers attribute the frequent usage to the view the bridge offers as well as the ease of plying the road.

However, the regular traffic on the road has led to frequent concerns over the Third Mainland Bridge shaking and requiring consistent maintenance.

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Final Words on Third Mainland Bridge

As a significant landmark, The bridge is among the top tourist attractions in Lagos. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting Lagos for the first time!

Have you seen the third mainland bridge or had experience on it?

Tell us about your experience.

Do you have any other interesting fact about the bridge?

You can share with us in the comment section.

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