By Fadekemi Ajakaiye
Eko Atlantic City has been able to reclaim 65% of land initially lost coastal erosion, the developer, South Energyx Nigeria has said.
During a tour of the new city recently, the managing director, Mr David Frame stated that a sustainable solution to the consistent loss of land needed urgent attention that was created by South Energyx and Royal Haskoning.
“There was need for the reclaiming of the land that had been lost to 100 years of coastal erosion and erecting a sea revetment to protect Victoria Island permanently from the onslaught of the Atlantic Ocean,” he said.
He stated that the design and testing of a sea wall, which could stand the worst storms in 1,000 years, was tested to its limits in Copenhagen at the Danish Hydraulic Institute.
He stated that the genesis of the interruption to the littoral drift came with the construction of the rock moles at the entrance to the Port of Lagos. Also, before the moles were built, large vessels delivering goods to Lagos were required to drop anchor some distance offshore due to the shallow waters in the Commodore Channel, this channel led to the pre-existing Port in Lagos.
“To enable delivery of cargo to Lagos Port, smaller vessels would then be dispatched to the larger vessels anchored offshore and convey the cargo into the Port, this was rather a painstakingly tedious and extremely inefficient exercise, as a major upgrade of the Port of Lagos, was apparent and much needed to expand trade and economic growth”, he stated.
He said in order to improve access to the then Port of Lagos, Marine engineers built the East and West Moles. The construction of these two moles began in 1905 and was completed in 1912. It allowed for the dredging of the Commodore Channel which allowed larger vessels to enter the Port of Lagos. With this, larger trade ships could freely enter and exit the Port and discharge their cargo directly, increasing the volume of trade through this vital new trade hub; clearly the development and extension of the Port of Lagos played a major role in establishing Lagos as one of the major economies on the African continent.
Frame stated, however, that the construction of these moles interrupted the littoral drift. Sand and sedimentary materials which were previously deposited on the shores of Victoria Island and Lekki were now being trapped on the West side of the Port of Lagos. Erosion therefore ensued to the East of the Commodore Channel which is Bar Beach and the coastline of the Lekki Peninsula.
“By 2005, some 100 years after the construction of these moles, 2km depth of beach front, being the entire Bar Beach, was lost to erosion leaving Victoria Island directly exposed to heavy ocean surges and with no protection from the Atlantic Ocean, which exposed Victoria Island and Lekki’s businesses, residents and properties to severe threat and, urgent action was required to avert an ecological disaster and the potential loss of the busy commercial hub of Lagos Victoria Island, he said.
He stated that if the onslaught of the ocean surges on Victoria Island had been allowed to continue, Victoria Island would have fallen into the Atlantic Ocean and without the protection of Victoria Island, other densely populated areas of Lagos, like Ikoyi, Lagos Island, and communities along the Lagos Lagoon would now be bearing the brunt of the relentless ocean surges.
“In order to save the city, Royal Haskoning, was contacted to design and build a wall that would more than sufficiently protect the Eko Atlantic City. The sea wall was subjected to the worst waves predictable in a 1,000-year cycle. The finished sea wall model withstood the tests without showing any signs of distress” he said.
“The Great Wall of Lagos, which is 8.5km long, and 12.5m wide, has a promenade built on it. This promenade provides a tremendous amount of recreational space to residents looking to take advantage of the ocean front open area and impressive ocean views. The ocean surges which were once hitting Victoria Island are now hitting this Great Wall of Lagos” he said.
He stated that with the city fully secured from the Atlantic surges, a whole lot of development is now put in place. The infrastructure includes; 15 bridges, mariners-which can accommodate 300 vessels, treated boreholes for water supply, sewage collection system, sewage treatment plan, which converts sewage to fertilizer.
Others are; power generation and supply, fibre optics network, underground cable, development of vegetation- timeline avenue, Eko Boulevard- the commercial centre.
Eko Atlantic City, which is a mixed-use development with largely local content, will be providing round-the- clock activities like; apartments, offices, hotels, large shopping mall-the largest in the Sub-Saharan, transportation- electric powered buses, water transport scheme, helipads, etc.
The estimated total population of the City is 500,000 with 300,000 permanent residents and 200,000 working and visiting the City. There is provision for a world-class hospital to cater to all medical requirements; educational facilities from nursery to university; security both at the 6 main entrances with CCTV, 2 major international security firms, mobile patrol, and other municipal facilities. Some offices and restaurants are currently running, and within the next 5years, the City will be fully operational.