THE Federal Ministry of Environment, FMEnv, has placed on public display a draft report of an Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, study of the effects of the implementation of proposals for the expansion and modernization of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The report was submitted by Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited. The public can read the report at FMEnv offices at the Green Building, Maitama and the Brown Building, Airport Road, Abuja; Games Village, Surulere, Lagos as well as in FMEnv state offices in Ibadan and Abeokuta.
The report is also available at State Ministry of Environment offices in Alausa, Lagos; Ibadan, Oyo State and Abeokuta, Ogun State as well as at Local Government Area Headquarters in Ikeja and Kosofe in Lagos State; Owode, Ifo, Odeda, Odogbolu, Isara and Sagamu in Ogun State and Idi Ayunre, Oyo State.
The report is on display in order to give the public an opportunity to comment on issues related to the reconstruction and which issues could potentially affect them.
Also, comments should be made on how the reconstructed expressway could best serve motorists, transporters, industrial/commercial interests and communities whose primary access is on the expressway.
The report indicates that the reconstructed expressway will have three lanes on each of the north-bound and south-bound carriageways between the interchange at Ojota, Lagos and the interchange by the former toll-gate in Ibadan.
Toll plazas will be provided on both sides of the expressway at Warewa, Sagamu interchange and Dekkit Quarry near Ibadan. There will also be interchanges at Ibafo, Mowe and Ogere. The project cost is put at N120 billion but the report does not mention the probable level of toll charges that would sustain loans to be obtained for the reconstruction.
Any new construction is expected to be environmentally and socially sound and economically viable. With interest rates at about 20 per cent, loans for construction would aggregate to about N170 billion by the end of a three-year construction period.
Income from toll charges on this expressway would have to be between N30 billion per annum and N40 billion per annum for the project to be viable within the concession period of 25 years granted to Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited.
An alternative route would have to be provided for motorists who do not want to pay toU charges.
Fortunately, the Lagos State Government has commenced work on the reconstruction of the road link between Mile 12, lkorodu Road and the Ikorodu Town Roundabout as a dual carriageway with a Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, corridor in the centre of the road.
This will be the first leg of an alternative route and the Federal Government should reconstruct the road link from Ikorodu Town Roundabout to Sagamu as a dual carriageway which will serve as the second leg of an alternative route from Ojota to Sagamu and onwards.
Traffic delays that are sometimes observed on the expressway in the region of the Redemption Camp should be permanently removed.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God has, from its own resources, provided a bitumen-surfaced road link from Simawa, crossing the River Owuru at Ebute Bonwu and thus establishing the first road link between the expressway and the Ikorodu-Sagamu road.
An interchange should be provided on the expressway where the road from Simawa joins the expressway at the southern gate of Redeemer’s University and u-turns should no longer be permitted on this portion of the expressway.
The Ogun State Government, OGSG, has an industrial estate at Ogijo, a town on the Ikorodu-Sagamu road in Ogun State, near the border with Lagos State. The Ogun State Government has previously considered an east-west road link from Ogijo to the expressway.
There exists a good opportunity now for the OGSG to identify and acquire the land corridor for the route from Ogijo to an interchange on the expressway somewhere between Arepo, Punchplace and Magboro.
There are benefits from a second road crossing River Owuru and any motorists using the interchange will pay toll charges at Warewa if travelling southwards and just before entering the expressway if travelling northwards.
Dr. AKINTOLA OMIGBODUN, an environmental expert, wrote from Lagos