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9 Years After, Ambode delivers Lagos Light Rail

Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has restated the commitment of his administration to complete  the Blue Rail from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko on the Lagos Badagry Expressway. The project, which was started in 2006 by former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is yet to be completed 9 years after.

The project started by the immediate past governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, entails the expansion of the road from its current four lanes to 10, in what aims at further opening up Lagos to the West African market and release the tourism potentials of the ancient slave city of Badagry.

The first phase of the road project awarded to Julius Berger, starting from the Eric Moor end of the expressway, near the national theatre, towards Mile 2, appears completed, while the phase 2 starting from Mile 2 towards Okokomaiko, in Ojo area, and handled by a Chinese construction firm- CCECC, is currently ongoing, though at a slow pace.

Incorporated into the road expansion project is a light rail system (blue line) to run from Okokomaiko in Ojo to marina (CMS) on Lagos Island, as well as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme. It is estimated that the light rail will move over 400,000 passengers along that route daily in what is expected to take at least two hours off passengers’ travel time.

The rail will run with electric multiple unit (EMU) coaches with a total of 13 stations covering a distance of 27.5 kilometres, and do a record time of 20 minutes between Okokomaiko and Marina on commencement of operations. The travel time will be a mark departure from what currently obtains on that route where commuters spend upward of four hours to cover the distance by road.

Governor Ambode who inspected the project at Mile 2 on Thursday, en-route Badagry, said the contractor working on the road would be further mobilized to ensure its completion.

“What we have come here to do is to specifically ensure that the contractor here is mobilized. It’s also important for us that the contractor takes it as a major priority”.

“The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is very important to all of us and it’s a project that we must finish. It’s a project that I would like to be completed within the shortest possible time, so I’ll like to see greater work done on the road project itself”, he said.

On the blue line rail project, the governor said effort was being made to ensure that the Mile 2 to national theatre corridor is completed early.

“We should be able to put to use whatever has been done from Mile 2 to Marina. Immediately they commence work on the road project from Mile 2 towards Badagry, once we pass the aspect of Okokomaiko, we should be able to do the blue rail from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko”.

He urged the contractor to increase the pace of work on the project just as he assured them that the government will address the challenges they might be encountering towards finishing the project.

“What we expect is that notwithstanding the rain or whatever, the immediate mobilisation should be done and then the contractor should also increase the pace of work and that’s what we’ll like to see and to let you know that whatever it is that are encumbrances to completing this project, we’re all going to sit down to make sure that we alleviate the sufferings of our people”.

Some challenges that we Lagosians contend with everyday, are the transportation problems  such as heavy gridlock, long distance treks due to hike in fares, fuel scarcity and the bane of commercial buses and their menace.

On a daily basis, Oshodi to Ikeja is an expected nightmare, while Abule-Egba, Pleasure/Ile-Epo, Agege, Maryland, Opebi, Allen, Ikotun through to Ejigbo to Cement/Mangoro, Ogba, Fagba,Tollgate, Ketu/Ojota express way, Ikoyi, Lekki, Ajah are some of the areas which many times also defy explanations as to the cause of congestion experienced there.

We really hope that the Lagos Light Rail Project commissioned by Governor Ambode will improve the commuting system and put a stop to endless hours of traffic, and reduce the daily struggle of having to deal with thuggish bus drivers.

 

Culled from Lagos News (J. B).

 

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