Kasim Sumaina and Kehinde Lawal
In order to meet the December delivery deadline for the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge, work will begin on the Lagos corridor by June, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said thursday.
He also acknowledged the efforts of the Lagos State government in finding lasting solutions to the challenges inhibiting the pace of work.
Amaechi spoke after the project inspection meeting of the project at Papalanto, in Ogun State.
He listed gas and petroleum pipeline, water and sewage removal as well as other structures as among the challenges besetting the project.
Assessing the pace of work, Amaechi concluded that work has moved speedily from Ijoko, to Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
â€œWe have made appreciable speed between Papalanto and Ibadan and in order not to affect our deadline, we need to resume work in Lagos,â€ Amaechi said
He said the contractor has not only made appreciable progress in the kilometre of tracks laid, but has commenced the laying of beams of two bridges at Papalanto.
Though he could not confirm how many kilometres of tracks have been laid, Amaechi disclosed that 17 bridges are to be constructed between Papalanto and Ibadan, while two would be coming up in Lagos.
Before the meeting, Amaechi had hinted of the Federal Governmentâ€™s readiness to go ahead with the project if Lagos continues to pose a challenge.
â€œWe agreed a long time ago that while we (Federal Government) would take care of the gas and petroleum pipelines, Lagos would take care of the replacement of the water and sewage removal.
â€œIf Lagos refuses to come up with their solutions, we would be left with no choice but to use our old, narrow gauge alignment, which can accommodate what we wanted to do and leave Lagos to look for another alignment when they are ready to commence their Red Line light rail project.â€
But after the meeting Amaechi admitted much grounds has been covered and Lagos has come up with a workable solution.
â€œWe have agreed that Lagos State should come back to the meeting within the next two weeks with their solutions so that work can resume as scheduled on the Lagos corridor by June, Amaechi stated.
Speaking on the threat posed by the rainy season, Amaechi said the engineers have assured the project team that work would continue regardless of the natural elements.
He said the CCECC has assured that it would keep to terms and deliver the project by December.