By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has commenced stakeholders meeting on the Environment and Social Impact Assessments, EIA, for the proposed construction of 4th Mainland Bridge, estimated to worth $2.2 billion.
The stakeholders’ meeting had in attendance the project designers, Advanced Engineering Consultants, AEC/Rendel, Sustainability Limited, Har Darsa, representative of Minister of Work and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, represented by Oluwatoyin Agbenla; Commissioner for Works in Ogun State, Ade Akinsanya; Commissioner for Physical Planning in Lagos State, Dr Idris Salako, policymakers, and people from Ikorodu communities.
Speaking at the forum on Tuesday, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the stakeholders engagement and consultation on EIA being held was a precursor to the third step, which would involve issuing a Request for Proposal (RfP) to the six consortia that would be required to present their respective financial proposals and methodologies for carrying out the project.
According to him, this would be concluded with the selection of the preferred bidder and two reserved bidders.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the governor said the stakeholders meeting was organised to open the project to further inputs, comments, ideas and observations for incorporation into the ongoing social and environmental impact assessment.
Sanwo-Olu said he believed that the meeting would boost the acceptability and implementation ratings of the proposed bridge in line with global best practices.
He assured them that their comments and advice would be given due consideration as they will be beneficial and assist in the finalisation of the ongoing procurement process.
The governor recalled that in October 2019, the process for the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge was reactivated with the development of a six-step process that would lead to the selection of a suitable concessionaire in line with global best practice.
To underscore the importance of sustaining the existing synergy among the various agencies of government and the Organised Private Sector, he said the state government appointed a dedicated advisory team, comprising KPMG Nigeria (financial), Olaniwun Ajayi (legal) and AEC-Rendel (technical) with the task to collectively advise government, on the step by step process towards selecting a consortium to deliver the project.
He recalled that, “The six-step process began on November 27, 2019, with the publication of an advertisement seeking Expressions of Interest, EoI, from interested consortium/contractors. Out of the 50 respondents, 32 were shortlisted thus concluding ‘Step 1’ of the process.
“On February 10, 2020, the step 2 process commenced with the issuance of Request for Qualification, RfQ, document to the 32 shortlisted applicants.
“The RfQ process yielded 15 respondents out of which 10 progressed to full assessment. At the end of the assessment process, six consortia were selected to proceed to the next phase of the process.”
Special Adviser on Work and Infrastructure to Governor Sanwo-Olu, Mrs. Aramide Adeyoye, said the stakeholders meeting was another bold step of the administration towards ensuring the buy-in of Lagosians into government projects and another fulfillment of the promise of the governor to adopt inclusiveness as a tool for governance.
The special adviser explained that the proposed Lagoon bridge, which has a length of 4.50 kilometres, would comprise of a “twin 7-lane deck” (two parallel decks) so as to provide for both the present traffic needs and the future traffic growth needs as well as the potential for a Bus Rapid Transit, BRT network.
Ikeazor said she expected the proceedings of the stakeholder workshop would evolve far-reaching ideas and recommendations that would assist in making the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge a major development project that was executed at the highest levels of environmental sustainability.