Lagos State Government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the blue and red light trains are completed on schedule and begin the Fourth Mainland Bridge and coastal roads.
According to an article written by Adeyinka Aderibigbe published on thenationonlineng.net, the Blue and Red light rails expected to be delivered by fourth quarter this year would provide urban shuttle alternatives to about 1.4 million passengers at take-off, and over two million passengers per annum thereafter.
The Blue and the Red light train are two of the six train systems under the Lagos Train Mass Transit (LRMT) a major plank of the Strategic Transportation Masterplan (STMP) meant to redefine public sector transportation in Africa’s leading megacity and fourth biggest economy.
Under the Lagos Urban Rail Network (LURN), six such lines are mapped. While two, which have since become the flagship are nearing completion, the remaining four – the Green, Orange, Purple and Yellow lines, as well as a mono rail that would ply Obalende-Victoria Island-Ikoyi, are at various stages of bidding process.
The Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who toured the ongoing railway projects on January 3, 2022 was happy that the projects are on course and would be delivered on target.
He said: “Our promise on the blue and the red line is still on course. We believe that, by coming on a quarterly basis to supervise them, we would ensure that before the end of this year, we will see the trains on top of the tracks.”
The governor said the two are “iconic and landmark projects”, for which the Lagosians would be proud.
He saluted the commitment of the contractors for their commitment.
He said he would intensify quarterly inspection to facilitate speedy completion, even as he praised the contractors for keeping to timelines. “We embarked on this similar tour about three or four months ago. I am happy to report that the construction is going on according to schedule,” the governor told journalists who were with him during the tour to the four stations.
The governor said there were significant improvements in construction works at the sites of the Ikeja, Yaba, Ebute-Metta and Marina stations, compared to the last visit in September.
At the Ikeja Station, which will be the main iconic station for the red line project, the station was at foundation level in September but the project is now at the second floor level, remaining a floor before they will get to the third floor, which is the final floor.
The road works at Ikeja, as well as the overpass from Obafemi Awolowo to Agege Motor Road are also ongoing.
At the Yaba site, about three months ago, the contractors are now on the second floor in line with the matching order to the contractor to ensure that they keep to the timelines and the deadline.
The Ebute-Metta Station is far ahead of delivery because the contractor has finished the carcass of the station.
The red and blue line rail is part of the intermodal transportation system of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in reducing gridlock and ensuring interconnectivity in different parts of the state. And when completed, the 37 kilometres red line rail project will link Agbado to Marina, while the 27.5 kilometres blue line rail project will run from Okokomaiko to Marina.
Lagos is the only state directly funding rail system construction not only in the country, but on the African continent, with the take-off of the blue light train 16 years ago.
Delivering the two projects simultaneously has gone a long way to demonstrate the Sanwo-Olu administration’s commitment to transportation, which is a major pillar of the government’s THEMES agenda.
Fourth Mainland Bridge
But the train is not the only sphere the Sanwo-Olu administration is leaving a major imprint. While major strides are recorded on the urban train transit project, the government is also working assiduously at the two level bridge that would change the transportation narratives of the state.
This ‘new bridge and new heart’ in the body of Lagos is not the typical infrastructure; they will connect people in large numbers and improve their natural flow through a re-organisation of vehicular, waterways, and pedestrian modes of transportation.
The two level bridge will not only function as a means for vehicular traffic on its upper level, it will stimulate and accommodate pedestrian, social, commercial and cultural interactions on its lower level – ‘Lagos Life’ – with its tropical environment and intimate street level exchanges.
Addressing journalists on the Fourth Mainland Bridge recently, Engr Aramide Adeyoye, said when completed, the bridge, in conjunction with existing road networks, would establish a primary ring road around Lagos, providing alternative traffic routes from Lekki to Ikorodu and from Ikeja to Ajah, relieving the third Mainland Bridge of its overstretched capacity.
She said the government is shopping for contractors for the iconic bridge and once this is concluded this year, work may commence on the project which beyond providing transportation alternative, would secure the state’s primal place as a destination of choice for tourist as the bridge would undoubtedly attract a huge traffic of tourists on its first deck who might want to have a closer feel of the state’s aquatic splendor.
The Coastal Road
On the Eastern flank, the Sanwo-Olu administration also slated for this year the commencement of the Lekki-Epe coastal road, which when completed is expected to ease traffic along the Lekki-Ajah-Epe axis of the state which is usually on perennial nightmarish traffic lockdown.
Just last week, the government had to reassure residents, (who had raised the alarm that government is already parceling out portions of the right of way for the project to private developers), that it remained resolutely committed to delivering the coastal road and relieving residents along the Lekki corridor of the stress of the existing overburdened road.
Addressing the concerns, last week, the Commissioner of Information and Strategy Mr Gbenga Omotoso said government only allowed temporary structures on the land pending when construction will begin on the coastal road to prevent people from turning the land int shanties that could constitute menace and security threat to the people of the area.
The government would undoubtedly continue to take on more junction improvement works this year to improve travel experience of urban dwellers in the state.
In the past year, the government embarked upon and delivered on four junction improvement works that saw the expansion and improvement of traffic patterns on Allen Avenue, Lekki roundabout, and Maryland. Works are also aggressively ongoing at Awolowo Way/Kodesho/Oba Akran road underpass (by Computer Village) in Ikeja, awarded September last year and is expected to be completed in April. The Commissioner for Transportation Dr Frederic Oladeinde said the JWIs are part of the transportation reforms aimed at expanding the carriage capacity of many of the urban road networks, most of which are currently overstretched as a result of the volume of vehicles within the state. He said no fewer than 60 such junctions scattered round the urban areas of the state have been identified while work is ongoing to bring more junctions into the basket, for which he said the administration is determined to rework in its determination to improve travel experience in the state.
For an administration that has just one full budgetary year to wind down, the Sanwo-Olu administration is undoubtedly determined to sustain the tempo of turning the five divisions of the state into a huge construction site. There is no doubt that these projects, once delivered, will change transportation narrative in the state and pave the way for an inter-modal transportation system where all modes of transportation would be made available for the pleasurable movement of the people of the state.