…promises to complete Blue Line Rail
In line with the THEMES agenda of the present administration, which has Traffic Management and Transportation as key, the state government has restated its commitment to deliver to Lagosians a reliable, efficient, safe and effective intermodal transport system that will enhance mass movement of people through the expansion of BRT routes and completion of rail and water transportation infrastructure in the state.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu disclosed this today while delivering his keynote address at the fourth Lagos Traffic Radio Lecture Series held at the Radio Lagos/Eko FM Multi-purpose Hall, Agidingbi-Ikeja with the theme, ‘Lagos Beyond Roads: The Intermodal Transport Option’.
The Governor, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, disclosed the state government’s commitment to fund to completion, the 27.1km Blue Rail line from Okokomaiko to Marina, adding that the state is already partnering with the Federal Government through the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on sharing the alignment on the Lagos-Ibadan project which substantially fall on same alignment with the Red Line.
Speaking further, he stated that the state government would open up the space for the participation of investors and stakeholders, both local and international in order to actualize the Red Line which is a 31km line from Agbado to Marina and a 6km spur from Oshodi to Muritala Muhammed Airport.
According to the governor, the federal government would build stations at Agbado, Agege and Ebute Meta, while the Lagos State Government will build the Iju, Mushin; Oshodi; Ikeja; Yaba and Oyingbo.
He noted that the current traffic situation in the state indicates that 95% of transportation is done by road and therefore the need to reduce the number of cars on the road and provide alternative options which are rail and waterways transportation that is efficient and safe for Lagosians and those that choose to visit Lagos.
While stating that the water transportation sector will receive lots of attention, Governor Sanwo-olu disclosed further that his administration in the last few weeks has had promising discussions with various groups of investors who had expressed their intention to invest in the water transportation subsector, which has been under-utilized in terms of harnessing its economic potentials.
The governor revealed further that as the state government sustains its current advocacy on the need for compliance with traffic rules and regulations in the state, it will embark on the completion of ongoing critical road infrastructure projects and initiate new ones as the rains subside.
He added that the palliative work been executed by the Lagos State Public Works Corporation which involves covering of potholes is to alleviate the pains being experienced and reduce the Man-Hour being lost every day in the process of commuting from one point to another.
He restated the determination of government to reduce traffic time along the Ikoyi-Lekki and Victoria Island axis, adding that “traffic study is ongoing on Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge and Lekki-Epe expressway which will assist our decision on electronic payments on the two plaza before the end of the year.”
Earlier in his presentation, the lead speaker, former Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN stated that successive administrations in the state have done a lot on intermodal transport system but there is the need for more to be done. He said that the administration of Alhaji Lateef Jakande under which the Late. Alhaji (Dr.) Muftau Hamzat was the Commissioner for Transportation, the ferry system was functional and Lagos Metroline was conceived.
Fashola stated that traffic in Lagos is a blessing and a burden stating that ”as a cosmopolitan city, traffic is inevitable and a blessing because it brings about employment such as licensing, parking and ticketing.”
He therefore called on the state government to, apart from the palliative work/resurfacing presently done on roads, should also focus on rehabilitation of roads in the central spine of Lagos. These are clusters of roads like Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Third Mainland Bridge; Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressways Road, Lekki-Epe Road, Ikorodu-Mile 12- Funsho Williams Road and Agege Motor Road.
Saying “If these roads move, Lagos will move”, the former Minister expressed the view that if roads in these areas are fixed, Lagosians will have a reduction in traffic gridlock.”
In addition, he suggested that the state government need to ensure it increases transport education among citizen in the state as he charged the Lagos traffic radio to come up with educational programmes to educate Lagos road users.
He also challenged the state government to charge the state Ministry of Education to develop a curriculum in order to ease road transportation in the state, to ensure that all terminals in the state are operational promote and build new terminals disclosed that a lot has been done on the inter modal transport system for Lagos but more needed to be done. ,
Speaking during the event, the Air-Vice Marshall (retd.), Dr. Sikiru Oladimeji Smith, opined the challenges faced by transportation in Lagos are due to over dependence on the road transportation, poor road infrastructure, inadequate maintenance culture and non-compliance of traffic rules.
He recommended that the government should ensure the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing road networks, proper drainage system, traffic lights and signs all over the state and provision of high way capacity buses among other recommendations.
While making his presentation, Senator Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora urged Lagosians to take advantage of the aquatic nature of the state not necessarily for transportation but for tourism and other economic purposes. He stated that “the water transport in Lagos has provided automatic mobility routes in and out of Lagos and these routes must be annexed’.