•SANWO-OLU ORDERS CLEANUP ALONG CORRIDOR
Yaba Flyover opens to traffic October, says Governor during project inspection
Lagosians may have to exercise more patience, as they anticipate the completion of the 37-kilometre-long Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project.
The construction of the rail infrastructure is at the finishing stage, but Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the project will not open to the public until all stations are completely furnished and safety features put in place.
The Governor, on Wednesday, undertook a comprehensive inspection of the Red Line infrastructure, traversing the major stations of the rail project. The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State cabinet joined the Governor on the tour.
Beside, Sanwo-Olu inspected retrofitting work on Talgo train coaches waiting to be deployed for the Red Line operation. The trains are being equipped in Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) compound, Mobolaji Johnson Station, in Ebute Metta.
Construction of the Red Line project, which was conceived and started by the Sanwo-Olu administration, is being undertaken by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA). The rail project starts from Agbado and terminates in Oyingbo.
Sanwo-Olu kicked off the tour with the visit to Agbado at a boundary with Ogun State, where the Governor and his team took stock of the development of the rail terminal being built hundreds of metres away from the Lateef Jakande Station owned by of the NRC.
The team stopped at the Iju and Agege terminals of the Red Line, where the stations had been completed with their platforms and furniture being fitted to prepare them for operation.
At the Ikeja mega station of the rail line, turnstiles, escalators, cooling system, lighting components and other ancillary features had been installed; only work left to do was in-building demarcations and cleaning.
At Yaba Station of the Red Line, the Governor was received by an excited crowd of residents who joined him inspecting the infrastructure.
Sanwo-Olu said he was impressed by the progress of the project and the quality of construction done, assuring Lagosians that the project would be completed by the end of the year.
The Governor ordered comprehensive cleanup of the Red Line corridor ahead of the completion, directing an immediate evacuation of illegal traders and intruders along the rail tracks.
He said: “We took the opportunity of holiday to inspect the construction of the Red Line infrastructure, which is at the finishing stage. In all the stops we have made, we could see the state of the stations and their platforms. We noticed there is still some work that still needs to be done, especially around cleaning up of all illegal activities that are being conducted on the rail corridor, which should not have happened. We are also taking final approach around all pedestrian bridges to be completed along the route.
“From my observation, I can say that I am very impressed with the level of work by all contractors working on the Red Line project. I believe we are on track to finish the project by the end of this year. We will push the contractors to work tirelessly to see how they can finish on time. We will be strict on enforcement in taking out intruders from the rail corridor. We have given evacuation notice to all traders found on the corridor; we will wall off the entire corridor to make it free for passengers movement when the operation starts.
“Construction of the Red Line is on track and a lot of people cannot wait for its completion and the day they will start using it. But we cannot take safety measures for granted. Everything must be put in place before we can launch it. That is why I have taken time to come out today and push the contractors for the cleaning up, testing and completion. We want to give the best for our citizens; this is the minimum they deserve to get from my Government.”
Sanwo-Olu said since the Red Line tracks are at grid level, it would be necessary to completely wall off the corridor to ensure non-interference with the tracks and prevent accidents that may claim lives.
From next month, the Governor said there would be relief in vehicular movement on flyovers being put in place to aid rail crossings.
Some of the completed flyovers include, Ikeja Along Flyover, Yaba and Ebute Metta flyovers.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that Yaba Bridge would open to traffic in October, while other completed flyovers along the Red Line corridor would be opened in succession from next month before the commissioning of the rail project.
He said: “Before we finally launch the Red Line, we will give vehicular relief to our citizens around rail crossings. The first bridge we will possibly open for traffic is Yaba Bridge which will happen in October. Weeks after, we will open another bridge that has been completed and do same for others.
“The Government is on track with our promise to deliver two rail infrastructure. We have delivered the Blue Line and has started operations. The second phase of the Blue Line has been awarded and the contractor has since moved to site. Its completion may happen faster than we expected.”