Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Sunday, inspected the on-going construction of the Lagos Rail Line project and said the first quarter 2023 target for commencement of operational service was sacrosanct.
He said the state was on track with its effort to complete work on both the Blue and Red lines rail projects, which are intra-city, to strengthen the intermodal transportation system.
Speaking at the Marina Station of the system after the inspection, Sanwo-Olu expressed satisfaction with the level of construction so far, saying additional trains are to be procured for speedy commencement.
The governor, however, warned those that had started vandalising the barricades around rail line to desist from the act, saying the tracks are hazardous. He added that, unlike the Red Line along Ikeja, Alagbado to Marina axis, the Blue Line from Marina to Mile 2 would be electric and people, including passengers, were not expected to walk on the tracks.
He said work on the Blue Line rail project was at 90 per cent completion, as contractors were working seven days a week so that Lagosians could start using the train by the first quarter of 2023.
Sanwo-Olu inspected the Blue line rail project alongside some of his cabinet members, top officials of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), and contractors handling the project. They moved from the National Arts Theatre rail station on a construction track to Orile Iganmu, Alaba and Mile 2 stations to inspect the four train stations on the Blue line rail.
The governor said the blue line rail would be running on electric tracks with Electric Motor Vehicle (EMV) and warned citizens to keep off the train lines.
He also inspected a new four-coach train, which, according to him, was a typical train that will be used on the blue line.
He disclosed the Lagos State government’s plan to bring additional two sets of four-train coaches from China between September and October, adding that adequate security would be put in place at every train station and platform with the use of CCTV.
Sanwo-Olu told his entourage, “This is the first time I am taking you on the blue line to see where we are. The first phase of the Blue line rail project starts from Mile 2 and terminates at Marina. Marina Station is an elevated station and it stretches out to outer Marina and terminates where the Governor’s residence is. At the end of the station, you could see that the track is broken into two bridges. The backtrack is for parking.
“We are happy that the contractors are working seven days a week. The major aspect, apart from the Marina Station, is a sea crossing from Eko Bridge to join the outer Marina. They would finish it in about three months. And by the time we will be coming back in July, the concrete construction should have been completed.”
Sanwo-Olu condemned the level of vandalism along the rail corridors and warned perpetrators to desist from such evil acts.
He said the government would go after companies that purchased vandalised rail track infrastructure, adding that culprits will be traced and made to face the wrath of the law.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu yesterday issued a three-day ultimatum to traders under the Apogbon Bridge on Lagos Island to vacate or risk demolition of the space by Wednesday. He gave the warning while driving on the bridge during his inspection of the blue line rail project and observed that traders were back under the bridge with their goods displayed after they were driven away in the aftermath of a fire outbreak under the bridge about six weeks ago.
The governor said enforcement agencies would be deployed to the bridge after the ultimatum.