Rotimi Amaechi: Standard gauge rail lines will end Apapa gridlock

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, says the ongoing construction of Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail lines will end the lingering chaotic Apapa gridlock, when completed.

Amaechi made the disclosure yesterday 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 gridlock 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 logjam 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 seaports.

“When the rail lines get to the seaports, then most of these goods will be on the rail, thereby reducing pressure on the roads,” the minister said.

Amaechi said that efforts had made to fast-track the project for the benefit of the citizens, stating that there was improvement in the level of works done on the Abeokuta axis of the project. He added that there was challenge on Agbado-Iju in Ogun toward Lagos corridor.

The minister said 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 little challenge on civil work. I believe the closer we get to Lagos, the better for the rail; that is why we are battling the contractor to tell us when the work will get to Lagos axis in full.

“There is 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 the standard gauge line, when completed, would improve the business of the various 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.

Amaechi had during his December 2018 inspection, said that 33 kilometers 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 ending of January 2019, inaugurate 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 in early 2019.

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