13 February 2013

Nigeria: Lagos Light Rail to Be Completed Before June

The first phase of the Lagos light rail project will be ready for commuters' use by the end of June. An engineer with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, has told Vanguard.

The engineer who preferred anonymity said the project is divided into three phases and that the first phase should be ready for commuters before the end of June this year.

"The work is in three phases, phase one is what we are doing presently which is from the National Theater to Mile 2, and should be completed between June and July this year and then people will be able to make use of it."

Pix shows Governor Babatunde Fashola (middle) listening to the Managing Director, CCECC, Mr. Shihong Bing during the track work commencement ceremony of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (Blue Line) at Orile Iganmu along with other executive members

He explained that the two other phases would commence once the first phase has been completed."The second phase is from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko, which is to commence immediately after the completion of the first phase at the end of which the third phase which is from the National Theater to Marina will commence but I cannot speculate on the completion time for the entire project. But then I must tell you that it will be sooner than people think" he said.

The engineer who said people should not worry about the locomotive seen along Mile 2 and Orile axis of the rail track , adding, Lagosians should not think that the project is being delayed since it will be delivered sooner than expected.

"There is no cause for alarm about that locomotive there. It is a light rail project that the people asked for and I can assure you, we cannot give something lees. And work is moving, there has never been a time when we stopped working and for the contractors, they are doing the best they could to ensure that the project is delivered for use as soon as possible. They work from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. So people should stop thinking that the work is being delayed." He explained.

Some Lagosians who spoke to Vanguard also expressed hope that the project would be completed at the right time. Segun Abolade who noted that the project is taking time because it is a long term project said he believes the project must be completed sooner than people think.

"They will complete the project. It will not take as much time as people think. If not for any other reason, Lagos state government will not want to fail on the project because of their political opponents." For Mrs. Onifade, "the project will surely be completed. We should know that every good project takes time and this is not going to be an exception." However, Victor Okoro commended government's effort on the rail project but noted that the pace of work on the project has reduced recently.

"The government did well by initiating this project and the contractors have been doing well but recently their pace of work reduced. When the Chinese company started work here, they used to work from Sunday to Sunday but recently the story has changed. They no longer work on Sundays and even on other days they are slow and do very little compared to when they started." Victor said.

The Lagos State Government approved seventy billion naira for the construction of the light rail line from Okokomaiko to Iddo-Marina in April, 2008, with an estimated completion date of 2011. However, with work commencing on the project in 2010, completion is now expected in 2015.

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