Sunday Okobi and Kasim Sumaina
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday disclosed that for the delivery of a good rail project, the Jibowu and Costain bridges in Lagos State would be demolished.
Amaechi stated this shortly after his inspection tour of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
According to the minister, “Yesterday I was on tour with the governor of Lagos and we agreed that the two bridges should come down.
“The Jibowu bridge and that of the Costain, we have agreed the two of them have to go. We have agreed with the governor of Lagos State on the arrangements we have to make before the bridges have to go. They cannot just go like that because of the management of traffic.
“So, what we agreed on is that we are constructing new bridges at Costain so that by the time we finish them, we will demolish the existing ones.”
Speaking further, he said: “The one at Jibowu, we will build a flyover across it before demolishing it,” the minister explained.
Reacting to the extent of work done on the railway project, the former Rivers State governor said: “We are impressed with the progress of work, but we expect more from CCECC. That is why we want them to increase the speed at which they are going.
“Yes, I am a lay man, but I have engineers supervising the construction and I know that by now they are supposed to have laid the tracks. I expected that they can lay the tracks within a period of one month,” he noted.
Amaechi equally spoke on the challenges of the gas pipeline crossing the railway line, explaining that, “If the issue of the transmission lines with the NNPC gas pipeline is not addressed, then there will be no railway line.
“I cannot tell you how soon we can do that because I am not with the NNPC. But what we know is that we have a target date. However, I want to say that there is no way you can do construction without challenges in different forms and kinds.
“The difference between this construction and the rest is that journalists are physically present with the minister while the work is going on. In other constructions, what the journalists may see is the finished product and may not know what they went through.
“The challenges facing this construction is not even here in Ogun but in Lagos. We are dealing with water, drainage, gas, power and the military. But here we are dealing with just gas and maybe a few power transmission lines and we can manage that.
Speaking on the completion of the rail project, he said: “Don’t forget that the contract is for three years, but we are chasing the Chinese to see that they finish it in 2018. We have made it clear that we need it before January 2019.”
Also, the minister revealed, “We have actually taken delivery of two locomotives and 10 coaches. Let me inform you that Mr. President will inaugurate it this month. We want to make sure that those that will travel from Kaduna to Abuja are able to use the new coaches.”