Hope Rises for Lagos Commuters as Sanwo-Olu Commits to Rail Project

Babajide Sanwo-Olu

•Promises completion by 2021

Segun James

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday set a 2021 date for the much-anticipated Lagos Blue Line, the state’s rail project, to commence operations.

Sanwo-Olu, while leading members of the State Executive Council to inspect the five-kilometre long Continuous Beam Bridge constructed from Iganmu to Marina, said the completion of the sea-crossing track indicated his administration’s commitment towards completing the state-funded rail project started in 2009.

“The completion of this project is a top priority for our administration, as it is critical to the achievement of our prioritised pillar of traffic management and transportation in our six-point development agenda, known as project T.H.E.M.E.S.

“The aim of this rail project is basically to reduce the travel time through an effective and efficient intermodal transport system. It is also key to the building of a 21st Century economy, which is central to the vision of a Greater Lagos aspiration. We are committed to delivering this project next year and ensuring its operation starts in 2021,” he stated.

The construction of the rail tracks, the governor noted, was being implemented in strict adherence to the state’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which prescribes six rail lines and one monorail for the long-term strategic goals of the state.

Apart from the Blue Line, the governor said his administration would be starting the construction of the Red Line rail project from Agbado to Marina, adding that advertisement had been published in the media to invite investors for the construction of four other rail lines under a Design, Build, Operate, Maintain and Transfer model of Public-Private-Partnership arrangement.

The governor also said the integrated mass transportation initiative of the government had recorded huge progress with the successful completion of an elevated sea-crossing track of the Lagos Blue Line Rail Mass Transit project.

According to him, the advertised rail projects include the 68-kilometre Green Line, 60-kilometre Purple Line, 34-kilometre Yellow Line and 48-kilometre Orange Line.
The Green Line would start from Marina through Victoria Island, Lekki Phases 1 and 2, Ajah, Ogombo, Lekki Airport to Lekki Free Trade Zone, while the Purple Line is expected to start from the Redemption Camp going through Ogba, Iyana Ipaja, Igando and terminating at Ojo.

The Yellow Line would stretch from Otta through Isheri Osun, Ejigbo, Mafoluku, Isolo to the National Theatre, and the Orange Line would span from Ikeja moving through Mile 12, Ikorodu, Alapadi, Eligana, Isiwu, Imota and terminating at Agbowa.

Sanwo-Olu said: “The government will also start the construction of eight quality bus corridors in strategic areas of Lagos. These bus corridors are our government’s initiative aimed at giving dedicated road space and traffic signal priority to mass transit buses to reduce journey times and improve service consistency.

“The initiative aims to encourage people to change from cars to buses and thus reducing traffic congestion. We are opening up new transport corridors to organised transport operators for seamless transport connectivity, reduce congestion and truly make our state competitive.”
He congratulated Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), for the progress, urging them to complete the Blue Line rail project on record time.

CCECC Managing Director, Mr. Michael Chiang, in his remarks, said the Continuous Beam Bridge represented the most complex construction work on the Blue Line project, noting that the engineering firm encountered several geological challenges before completing the sea-crossing section.

He said: “It is another great milestone for the project, which indicates that we have successfully overcome the major difficulties and solved the most complex construction section problems. We have overcome different challenges ranging from the impact of fluctuating tides, the frequent berthing of oil vessel, the very complex geological condition of the seabed and several incidents of barges colliding with the trestle near the busy sea navigation route.”

Also, the Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, described the feat as a “great milestone,” saying the ceremony marked the successful completion of 85 per cent of phases one to four of the Blue Line project, which spans from Mile 2 to Marina.