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Facts about Third Mainland bridge not many Lagosians are aware of

By Kennedy Ilediagu
Publish on August 09, 2019

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If you have always wondered how the Third Mainland bridge came about & other interesting characteristics, here are some breathtaking facts about Third Mainland bridge!

One of the most popular bridges in Nigeria is the Third Mainland Bridge (commonly abbreviated as the 3MB). It is an important bridge as it connects the Lagos mainland to the island. There are other routes to the island from the mainland but the 3MB is obviously the most used, the shortest and the easiest to access. In as much as it is popular, there are certain facts about the third mainland bridge that you probably never knew.

Naijauto have decided to bring you a list of facts about Third Mainland Bridge to keep you well informed.

1. The Third Mainland bridge is the most popular bridge in Nigeria

There are lots of bridges in Nigeria but the two most popular are the Onitsha bridge (built over the river Niger) and the Third Mainland bridge. Judging by the number of cars that ply both bridges on a regular day, the Third Mainland bridge is definitely the most popular. It sees over a thousand cars a day and even at midnight. There are times when traffic jams occur on the bridge - regardless of how wide it is.


Beautiful aerial view of the third mainland bridge

2. The Third Mainland bridge is the longest bridge in West Africa

With all the bridges that cut across different states in Nigeria, those in Ghana, Cameroon, Benin Republic and other west African countries, the Third Mainland bridge is the longest.

  • How many minutes drive is Third Mainland bridge?

The Third Mainland bridge covers a distance of 11.8 kilometers. This means you can spend an average of 10 to 15 minutes from one end to another - on a day when there's absolutely no traffic.

>>> The actual time driving through this bridge can never be said for sure! Traffic on Third Mainland Bridge – problems and solutions after 20 years of operation

3. The Third Mainland bridge was commissioned in 1990

  • Which government started Third Mainland bridge?

On 17th August 1990, the president of Nigeria at the time, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, commissioned the third mainland bridge. That day was also his birthday. The project had been abandoned by the past administration until he came into power and completed it.


General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida was the one to commission Third Mainland bridge

4. It cost less than a billion naira to complete the Third Mainland bridge project

When the project for completion of the third mainland bridge was made known, German construction company - Julius Berger - was contracted to head the project. It cost the General Babangida administration less than a billion naira to eventually complete in 1990. Though an extra billion was used in renovation of the bridge about 23 years later. Two more times after that (in 2016 and 2018), it was closed off for maintenance when commuters complained of feeling vibrations when driving on the bridge.

>>> Check here How to avoid accidents on the Third-Mainland Bridge in Lagos

5. The Third Mainland bridge was the longest bridge in Africa for 6 years

From when the Third mainland bridge was commissioned till 1996 it remained the longest bridge in Africa. It only gave up the title to the 6th October bridge in 1996. The 6th October bridge is a 20.5 km bridge located in Egypt's capital city of Cairo. It is still on the list of top longest bridges in the continent.

6. Full name of Third Mainland bridge is the Ibrahim Babangida bridge

Who would have thought that the name "third mainland bridge" is just a moniker? The actual name the bridge was christened is the Ibrahim Babangida bridge, obviously named after the head of state that completed and commissioned it.


Check out how the Third Mainland bridge is at night

7. The Third Mainland bridge is among 3 bridges linking the Lagos mainland to the island

Apparently, the Third Mainland bridge got its moniker from being the 3rd of the bridges connecting road users from the mainland to island. The other two are the Carter bridge and EKO bridge. The 3MB is also the longest and widest. It is made up 8 lanes, 4 each for those going to and from the Lagos island. If you're going from the Lagos mainland, it starts from Oworonshoki and if you're coming from the island, it begins from Adeniji Adele interchange. However, keep in mind that the bridge also links you to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and Apapa-Oshodi expressway.

>>> Proposal for the fourth bridge has been sent to the government: Updates on Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge proposal

8. There are 3 great views from the Third Mainland bridge

Though the Third Mainland bridge is meant for you to simply drive from one end to another, the traffic plus the time it will take you to cover the distance of almost 12 kilometers, avails you the chance to enjoy some great views.

From the bridge, you can see the Lagos lagoon, which also feeds into Atlantic Ocean. If you're lucky, you might witness the activities of fishermen on it. Another view is the Makoko village. This is a little settlement built just on the Lagos lagoon itself. So if you ever wonder how it is like living on water, Makoko gives you a hint. Finally is the university of Lagos water front. There's literally a wall separating the university from the lagoon. Behind it is one of the hostels for female students of the university.

With all that said, you now know more than you ever did about the third mainland bridge or do I say, the Ibrahim Babangida bridge. Enjoy your ride when next you're on it.

>>> Check out more inspiring car stories and celebrity auto news on Naijauto.com!

Kennedy Ilediagu is an experienced wordsmith and a creative automotive writer for Naijauto.com. His forte ranges from vehicle maintenance and latest industry updates, to car review articles. He is also a brand management and content creation expert who has worked with Daily Posts (United Kingdom), ESUT Egg Day magazine, and many others for years. Digital copies written by him inform, educate and engage readers globally. When Kennedy is not writing, he is busy taking care of animals, traveling or watching football.