Standard gauge rail lines will soon end Apapa gridlocks – Amaechi
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, says the ongoing construction of Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail lines will end the lingering chaotic Apapa gridlocks when completed.
Amaechi made the disclosure on Thursday while inspecting construction works at the various sections of the projects at Ijoko, Kajola, Papalanto and Odeda on Ogun and Lagos States axis.
According to him, major solutions to the usual Apapa gridlocks is efficient railway lines. As you can see that the narrow gauge is existing, but it is not efficient.
“The moment we fix this project then, those goods will be transferred to the rail and the traffic locked jam will disappear on the road. We need to push the contractor to work faster; the pressure is more of economic than political because once the project gets to Iju in Ogun, the next pressure is to get to the Sea Ports.
“When the rail lines get to the Sea Ports then, most of these goods will be on the rail, thereby reducing pressure on the roads,” the minister said.
Amaechi who disclosed efforts had been put in place to fast-track the project for the benefit of the citizens, acknowledged an improvement in the level of works done on Abeokuta axis of the project, adding that there was a challenge on Agbado-Iju in Ogun toward Lagos corridor.
The minister said that he recently signed N42 billion contract to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to get more equipment to fast-track the pace of work. “You can see that there is an improvement from Iju to Abeokuta, but from Iju to Agbado toward Lagos is where we have a little challenge on civil work. I believe the closer we get to Lagos, the better for the rail and that is why we are battling the contractor to tell us when the work will get to Lagos axis in full.
“There is a huge improvement up to Abeokuta from Iju and then, we also want them to get the same speed in the construction to Agbado-Iju toward Lagos corridor.
“Railway construction is not like frying an egg, it’s not easy, though, the contract is three years. We are just doing a year plus, but we assure that it won’t exceed the scheduled period.
“We are just pushing them to hasten the work for the benefit of people, not for political reason, but more of economic reasons,” the minister said.
Amaechi said that the standard gauge line, when completed, would improve business in communities along the rail corridors.
He added that the development would generate more employment among the teeming youths along the rail corridors of various communities.
Recall that Amaechi had during his December 2018 inspection, said that 33 kilometres of Standard gauge track had been laid out of the 85 kilometres distance covered from Lagos to Abeokuta.
According to him, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will by January ending in 2019 inaugurated the Lagos to Abeokuta Standard Gauge railway line.
“All the four extra-large bridges, 11 normal large bridges, four medium bridges, two steel structured bridges, 10 frame bridges, 207 culverts in the Lagos-Abeokuta axis have reached various stages of completion,” he said.
According to him, eight coaches earlier imported for use at Ajaokuta will be deployed for use from Lagos to Abeokuta early 2019.