Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria, has confirmed that the Blue Line of the Lagos light rail project will be completed by December 2016, reports The Punch – a Nigerian newspaper.
Mr. Ambode spoke during the 5th Lagos Corporate Assembly, a forum for public-private sector engagement, at the Lagos House, Ikeja. In response to the questions asked by the chief executives of industries and members of the organized private sector (OPS), the governor discredited claims that the on going works on the first phase of the project connecting Mile 2 to CMS has stopped, saying the claims are false. He said, “The contractors are actually working on the waters for now and by December this year, the project will start running. So, work is seriously ongoing.”
The governor added that government was also about to conclude the channeling of the waterways in Lagos to improve water transportation so as to encourage investors and reduce the pressure on the roads in the state.
The Lagos Light Rail project is being implemented by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), and is planned to eventually consist of seven lines. 2 lines are being developed initially – the Blue line and the Red line.
The Blue Line is being built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and will run 27.5 km from Okokomaiko to Marina - with 13 stations, and an end-to-end journey time of approximately 35 minutes. It is being built as a high capacity, electrically powered rail mass transit system. Most of the route will be on the surface, but a part of the line will run on elevated structure, including a 1250m 4-track bridge spanning the Osa Lagoon and connecting Lagos Island to the mainland. The entire Blue Line will operate over a secure and exclusive right-of-way, with no level crossings and no uncontrolled access by pedestrians or vehicles.
Estimated to cost US$1.2 billion, construction work on the Blue Line started in 2010 and was initially scheduled for completion in 2015. However, it has been delayed due to problems with funding. Lagos State is financing construction of the Blue Line from its own resources. A concession contract will be awarded to finance, supply and operate the railway equipment, including electric power, signalling, trains, and fare collection.
The Red Line will share the existing 30 metre wide Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) right-of-way, and will run 13km from Marina to Agbado. On completion, the Red Line will also link to the International and Domestic Terminals at MMIA. The Lagos State government received approval for the Red Line from the Nigerian federal government in November 2015. The Red Line is estimated to cost US$2.4 billion.