Sylvester Oromoni

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, issued a marching order to the contractor handling the much-awaited Blue and Red Lines rail system projects to keep to timeline or face the dire consequence.

The governor reaffirmed that the rail projects which are on track as planned are expected to commence operation by the last quarter of 2022.

Sanwo-Olu reaffirmed the determination of his administration to deliver the project according to the plan during an inspection tour of the rail projects in the state.

The inspection commenced from Ikeja Bus Rapid Terminal, BRT, and the ongoing Red Line project to Yaba Station, Oyingbo Train Terminal, at Ebute Meta and finally to Iconic Marina Blue Line Terminal.

Despite the public holiday, Governor Sanwo-Olu, along with members of the State Executive Council and Chinese expatriate workers of the contracting firm went on inspection, which lasted more than three hours.

Instructively, the blue line was designed to run from Okokomiko to Marina, while the red line will run from Agbado to Marina.

Some of the unique characteristics of the Red Line are Its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule-Egba Bus Rapid Transit, the future Orange Line, which would go from Ikeja to Agbowa, and Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

The Ikeja Train Centre also has facilities for Park and Ride and commercial spaces.

Another unique feature of the Redline is that all the stations will have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers.

Redline will also integrate with the Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure.

Sanwo-Olu, speaking with journalists shortly after the tour, said that the monitoring of the project would be done on a quarterly basis to ensure that the project was delivered on schedule even as he commended the contractors for working as scheduled, noting that work on the project would be delivered as promised.

According to him: “Our promise is on the course, we are believing before the end of this year, we will see trains on top of these tracks. That is our commitment but we will continue to monitor and check ourselves.

“In the last three and a half hours we have gone round to see the constructions ongoing between the Red and Blue Line projects.

“You will recall we have embarked on this trip three or four months ago. We have promised that we will be doing it every quarter so that we can see how contractors are doing.

“I’m happy to report as you all have seen that the constructions are going on as scheduled. Despite today being a public holiday, all the contractors are on site.

“You can see where we are coming from, the Ikeja iconic station which will be the most iconic for Red Line, almost the same size as that of Marina. We were able to see that the last time, they were just at the foundation level but they are now on the second floor before they will get to the fourth floor which will be the final.

“There will be an overpass at Awolowo Way to Agege Motor Road. Everything is on course and we are hoping especially the bridge components will be finished before schedule because of the impacts of the traffic on the motorists around the corridor.

“At Yaba, we wanted to make a detour into Mushin but because of the logistics of how to get into Mushin station, noting there will be an overpass and a station also at Mushin.

“At Yaba, the last time we were there, they were still excavating but right now they are working to go to the second floor. You also saw the beams and they have been given a marching order to keep to timeline.

“At Ebute Meta, there will be an overpass from Muritala Mohammed Road up to Apapa Road. They are launching the columns, the station is far ahead because they have completed the station.

“At the Marina Station is the most iconic for the Blue Line. All the beams are to be launched. We have had precast beams stored at the National Art Theatre within six weeks, they should complete the launching.”

Recall that Sanwo-Olu, during the flag-off ceremony of the 37-kilometre rail route in Ikeja last year, explained that the red line would have 12 proposed stations and the first phase to cover Agbado to Oyingbo, with nine stations.

Sanwo-Olu said the project would be implemented in two phases.

”We project that the Red Line would move its first passengers in the fourth quarter of 2022.

”In addition, we are simultaneously working on bringing the first phase of our Blue Line (Marina to Okokomaiko) to passenger operation, projecting that it would be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2022,” he said.

He said the construction of the infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line would share tracks with the Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Projects by the Federal Government.

Sanwo-Olu added that the Redline would have 12 proposed stations and the first phase would cover Agbado to Oyingbo, with nine stations.

Phase two, which would be mostly elevated, would have stations at Iddo and Ebute-Ero before terminating at Marina.

Also, the Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, had earlier stressed that the desire of government on the rail project is to achieve improved connectivity among transport modes, making commuting within Lagos easy, as well as business-like for every resident and visitor.

“It will also help to reduce congestion, have predictable travel time and improve the GDP of the state,” she said.

Akinajo said the project is part of the state’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) 2032.

She said the first phase of the Red Line project would be a 28-kilometre rail from Agbado to Oyingbo, in the Ebute Metta area adding that the rail line is expected to carry 500,000 passengers daily for the first phase and once the second phase is implemented, it would commute one million passengers daily.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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