Sanwo-Olu kicks off construction of rail mass transit 37-km Red Line

•As affected property owners, tenants get compensation

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, performed the groundbreaking for the construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving more than one million commuters daily, saying the rail corridor would be constructed in three phases.

The governor said this at the ceremony which took place at the proposed site of the Ikeja Train Station and was witnessed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, among others.

According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, the first phase (Agbado-Iddo), which will be sharing a track with the Federal Government’s Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project up to Ebute – Metta, will be completed in 24 months, saying it would have its dedicated track from Ebute- Metta to Oyingbo and reduce travel time from about two and a half hours to just 35 minutes, with 500- passenger daily capacity.

The governor noted that the Red Line, a project of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will have eight train stations from Agbado to Oyingbo, to be fully operational in the last quarter of the Year 2022.

Sanwo-Olu, while disclosing that the Red Line was to raise mass transportation capacity in the state by complementing the Blue Line that extends from Okokomaiko to Marina, and which is at 78 per cent completion at present, vowed to ensure that the Blue Line and the Red Line were completed to the memory of the late Governor Lateef Kayode Jakande.

Sanwo-Olu, who with the deputy governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, handed cheques to a batch of property owners affected by the right-of-way, described the project as another promise kept, and another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive megacity.

The governor said the traffic management and transportation pillar in his Government’s development blueprint- Project THEMES- was being implemented with the goal to develop an efficient and sustainable transportation model that would improve mobility, promote economic growth and enhance the living conditions of residents.

“Today’s flag-off of the construction of infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line is another promise kept and it demonstrates, in practical terms, our commitment to achieve the objectives of traffic management and transportation pillar in our development agenda. This is because we recognise the role which an efficient transportation system plays in enhancing people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.

“The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving our vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said his administration was happy to be committing this investment to transport infrastructure, to ensure that citizens meet their daily targets and aspirations since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, declaring that the all-important transport project being witnessed at the event represented a major step in that direction.

“Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, we are happy to be committing this investment in our transport infrastructure, so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations. This all-important transport project we are all gathered to witness today represents a major step in this direction,” he said.

Speaking further, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the implementation of the Red Line was being supported under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (DCRR) programme, a financing package put in place by the state government through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN).

The governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, for supporting the state in the bid to make the project a reality, just as he also lauded the bankers who facilitated the funding.

He said the state government would be constructing ancillary infrastructure, including six overpasses at strategic level crossing points along the rail corridor to facilitate smooth operations of the Red Line and eliminate interactions between the rail system, vehicular and pedestrian traffic, adding that the overpasses would provide grade-separated crossings that would enhance safety for the rail system and road users.

“The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi- Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

“Another unique feature of the Red Line is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with our Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to our people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure,” the governor stated.

The governor presented cheques of varying amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses and accommodation would be affected by the project, disclosing that over 263 properties were affected by the project.

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladehinde, in his brief remark, described the Red Line as a continuation of the implementation of the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which made provision for six standard rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors and over 20 waterway routes, adding that the intervention was a deliberate effort of the state government and its development partners to make Lagos livable beyond the Year 2032.

Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, said the project was a bold step and commitment of Governor Sanwo-Olu to solving transportation challenges in line with his administration’s development blueprint.

The commissioner assured that the construction would not be delayed by funding and human factors, as stakeholders were duly carried along in the projects.

It would be recalled that the Lagos mass transit rail dream began in 1983 during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, but was stopped by the then Federal Government.

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Sanwo-Olu kicks off construction of rail mass transit 37-km Red Line

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