Apapa gridlock: FG begins Lagos-Ibadan rail project next week

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Amaechi, who addressed journalists, disclosed that contractors would move to site to continue the Lagos-Ibadan rail project from Apapa.

A reprieve to the lingering traffic congestion in Apapa area of Lagos State may be over soon as the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, yesterday, said the Lagos-Ibadan rail project would take off next week.

This is even as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode reinstated his stance that only movement of cargo by rail will reduce traffic congestion in the country.

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, during the Federal Executive Council’s meeting, approved N72.9 billion for the reconstruction of the road from Apapa to the Toll Gate on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Amaechi, who addressed journalists after a meeting with Ambode at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, also disclosed that contractors would move to site to continue the Lagos-Ibadan rail project from Apapa.

This, he said, would be part of efforts to bring about permanent solution to the perennial gridlock in the axis.

“You would recall that the Federal Government had commenced construction of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and the focus was more on the Ibadan and Abeokuta axis because we had challenges in Lagos which included utilities and not much with the communities.

‘’I think I have to commend the communities that allow us use their land though we would pay compensation but not much. So, we are grateful to all the communities from Lagos to Ibadan.

“However, we have utility challenges like gas pipes and water, and beyond the gas pipes, we also have challenges with bridges to either build or demolish. I remember when we said we wanted to demolish the Costain Bridge, everybody screamed and we had to invite the Lagos governor to assist us; he took us there and promised that he would pay the compensation.”

He said in addition to the rail projects, the Federal Government was also working on the roads, saying the combination of the projects would facilitate seamless movement of cargos from Apapa.

What we are trying to do there is to get a good road to evacuate cargos but it would be faster with the rail. So, while we are working hard to ensure the rail is delivered by this year ending, the Federal Government has also awarded the contract to deal with the road from Apapa and Tin Can to enable us evacuate cargos freely which is an addition to the rail,” Amaechi said.

On his part, Ambode lauded the action of the Federal Government to commence work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project from the Apapa axis, expressing optimism that the development would go a long way to enhance movement of cargos from Lagos to other parts of the country.

“We just want to reiterate our commitment to collaborate with the Federal Government as a state government to ensure we reduce the sufferings of Lagosians and I am happy that we have come out from this meeting stronger together with the Federal Ministry of Transport to make sure this particular rail project is delivered within the next six to 12 months.

“Lagosians would recollect that in the last three weeks, we have had issues with the Apapa gridlock and two times, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo had actually visited Lagos and promised a lot of remedies would take place.

“We want to use this platform to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council for approving the reconstruction of the Tin Can-Apapa-Oshodi Expressway up to the Toll Gate which was done yesterday. This is in continuation of our efforts at finding permanent solutions to what has been happening in the Apapa axis.”

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