The project which has seen the contractor, China Civil Engineering & Construction Corporation (CCECC), beginning to lay the rail track, looks to be emerging as the first to be turned into a reality by a state government in Nigeria. Apart from Lagos, Rivers State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration are also embarking on a similar project. By last weekend, the track laying was progressing towards Orile from the Alafia Bridge. Adegbite Bankole, one of the site engineers, told CityFile it would take two weeks to reach Orile.
For millions of Lagos residents, expectation from the project is high. This is understandably so given the relief it holds on for residents who commute on the Okokomaiko-Mile 2, Alaba-Orile route. The 27 kilometre rail line is being developed in phases, with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), as supervisor.
The project, one of the most ambitious by the Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration, is estimated to lift an average of 400,000 passengers daily on completion. Running from Okokomaiko in Ojo to Marina on the Lagos Island with stop-overs at Mile 2, Alaba, Orile-Iganmu and National Arts Theatre, the rail is expected to deliver faster, safer, reliable and efficient public transportation system.
The rail line is coming with an added advantage of cheaper fare compared to what is presently charged by the unregulated commercial bus operators on the Badagry route. Asides this, the rail is conceived to encourage the use of public transportation as a lot more vehicles are expected to be taken off the road in what will reduce vehicular emissions and congestion on the route.
Interestingly, it is not only commuters who will benefit from the project on completion. Thousands of unemployed youths will have their fair share from the scheme, as it is hoped that over 8,000 jobs will be created for skilled and unskilled workers some of whom currently roam the streets of Lagos in frustration.
Checks by CityFile, which has been monitoring the project, shows that progress is being made at Orile-Iganmu end of Lagos-Badagry Express Road with construction of stop-over stations at Mile 2 and Alaba, Orile-Iganmu and Mile 2 at various stages of completion.
The state government is optimistic the project will be delivered by 2013 if the contractor keeps the pace of work on. Barring any last minute changes, Governor Fashola is billed to visit the project site Tuesday (tomorrow) to see progress made since his last visit in 2012.
During Fashola’s last visit, he had said the project has moved from a vision to a dream and is becoming a reality. According to him, on completion of the first seven kilometres, the concessionaires will supply the coaches for full operation.
“We have moved from vision to dreams and to reality. The project has taken off; the baby has been born, it is left for us to nurture it to adulthood. This is going to be the most impactful project this state has ever had. You can only imagine the number of people that will be employed, both directly and indirectly, when the project is finished. It will reduce travel time and all the stress associated with traffic will be removed. Lagosians will travel in comfort”, he said.
Dayo Mobereola, managing director of LAMATA, described the project as one that will change the face of transportation in Lagos, and an eloquent testimony of the determination of the Fashola’s administration to accomplish its goal of delivering an effective and efficient inter-modal transportation system in Lagos.