The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Federal Government is committed to providing standard gauge rail service to Lagosians by the fourth quarter of 2018.
Amaechi spoke after assessing the project at Ijoko, in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government area of Ogun State.
He said; “We have said 2018 and that is a presidential directive. By December 2018, we want to see locomotives running from Lagos to Ibadan. We are committed to achieving this and the fund obtained from China Exim Bank is already on ground to ensure that nothing obstructs this timeline.
“Primary constraint the contractor identified are the height of two pedestrian bridges in Lagos (at Oshodi and Ikeja), and an ongoing flyover bridge at Ijoko. The second problem was the multiplicity of level crossing on the rail’s right of way. The contractor said they could not proceed on laying the rail tracks until those impediments are sorted out.”
The minister who briefed Pressmen on site with the Ogun state Governor Ibikunle Amosun, said as soon as the issues of the flyover height and others associated with the right-of-way are addressed, actual work would begin on the project.
Amaechi said while the project needs a minimum height of 6.5 metres, the identified bridges are about 4.5 metres high.
He added that the height of the bridge would have to be raised higher to accommodate future electrification of the train’s right-of-way.
Amaechi and Amosun agreed that engineers from the contractor and the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Transportation should meet on the best way to resolve the logjam.
The minister said the governor approved the closure of the two roads abutting the bridge to allow unhindered operation around the train’s right-of-way.
“The engineers are going to meet from today and we will also meet by Wednesday. So, by Friday, I would be meeting with Governor Amosun on the best option identified by the engineers and that’s what we’re going to take,” he said.
Amosun said Ogun State is committed to working with the government to resolve all the challenges to achieve the modern train service.