By Jude Njoku
LAGOS—Barely one year after tolling was suspended on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos State Government and the concessionaire handling the construction of the 49- kilometre road, Messrs Lekki Concession Company Ltd, LCC, yesterday announced December 18, as the new date for commencement of toll on the ever-busy road.
Governor Babatunde Fashola had on last December 29, suspended the collection of toll on the road after persistent public outcry, especially by residents of the area. The suspension was, however, lifted by the governor during the presentation of the 2012 budget to the State House of Assembly on November 14.
Announcing the new commencement date at a joint press conference by the State government and concessionaire, the Managing Director of LCC, Mr. Opuiyo Oforiokuma, explained that the rates announced before the suspension late last year, remained unchanged. Similarly, he said toll would for now be collected at the first toll plaza named Admiralty Circle Plaza.
Oforiokuma, who was assisted at the briefing by Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, and the Special Adviser/Director-General, Office of Public Private Partnerships, PPP, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, had before the briefing, taken newsmen round the alternative route provided for those who might want to by-pass the Admiralty Circle Plaza. Such motorists according Gbeleyi, are expected to veer off the expressway before the plaza into Yesufu Abiodun Oniru Road, down to City of David Church and Market back unto the expressway.
The LCC boss explained that the suspension of tolling on the road was to enable the state government provide the alternative road.
On the toll to be charged, Mr. Oforiokuma explained that vehicles plying the road had been graded into six categories. He said the normal toll for Class M (motorcycles) would be N50, while saloon cars and tricycles will pay N120, Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, minibuses and pick-up trucks, N150, commercial Danfo mini-buses, N80. Continuing, he said Light trucks and 2-axle buses will pay a toll of N250, while heavy trucks and buses with two or more heavy axles will be charged N350. He advised motorists who ply the road on regular basis to go for the electronic mode of payment, called e-tag and swiftpass, to save time and money.
The Information Commissioner debunked the insinuation that Fashola suspended the collection of tolls on the road in order not to jeopardize his chances at the last governorship election. He insisted that the suspension was made to ensure that a motorable alternative road was been provided. He said: “We have met everything that the residents complained about and I can assure you that nobody will be shortchanged in the transaction.”