Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State said on Thursday that the state’s light rail project would be completed by December 2016 and would commence operation immediately.
This is coming about six years after the Blue Line rail project, which is a 27-kilometre line stretching from Okokomaiko to Marina, was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC.
Ambode said that the state government was determined to complete the light rail project by the end of 2016 because it would ease the traffic situation in the metropolis and improve the living standard of the people.
The Blue line had an initial completion date of 2011 but suffered delays due to funding problems.
According to the implementing agency, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, the first phase of the project from Mile 2 to the National Theatre (a distance of seven kilometres) has been completed; while work is ongoing on the second phase from Mile 2 to Marina.
LAMATA said it was part the Lagos Urban Rail Network covering seven major corridors of high commuter traffic demand within and beyond metropolitan Lagos, extending to border areas with states such as Ogun and Oyo.
Speaking with Reuters news agency on Thursday, Ambode disclosed that “by December 2016, the light rail should be delivered”.
He had earlier said a new funding arrangement was being worked out to speed up work on the project and get it running by next year.
“This project is driven by commercial loans and bonds leaning on the state’s Internally Generated Revenue. That arrangement cannot be sustained. We are negotiating a better package that will deliver the project by the end of 2016”, he said.
Governor Ambode also said a tender for the expansion had been opened, and that the rail network would connect the northern and the southern parts of Lagos.
The Red line will be 30km long, running between Marina and Agbado, and will use the existing Nigeria Railway Corporation corridor.
Other lines as proposed by LAMATA are Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown and Orange.