The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said on Monday that the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail gauge would be delivered by fourth quarter of 2018.
The minister spoke during an assessment of the project at Ijoko, Ado Odo/Ota local government area of Ogun State.
“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 funds obtained from China Exim bank are 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, while 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.”
Amaechi, who briefed journalists on site alongside the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said as soon as the issues of the flyover height and others associated with the right of way are addressed, actual construction work would commence on the standard gauge.
He said while the project needs a minimum height of 6.5 metres, the identified bridges are about 4.5 metres high.
The minister disclosed 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 Governor Amosun agreed that engineers from the contractor and the state’s Ministry of Work and the Ministry of Transportation should meet and come up with the best way to resolve the logjam.
He added: “As a ministry, we agree with the contractor for on-site meeting to ascertain the level of work on the project. Today we came to the conclusion that they have not commenced serious work and the reason why they have not commenced serious work is the problems they are having on the right of way.
“So what I did today is to address those problems. One of the problems is the height of the flyovers and we are here to see the one which Ogun State is building.
“We need to increase the current height from 4.8 to 6.5 metres because we may also want to ensure that there is electricity on the right of way because tomorrow we may start using electricity to power the train.
“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.”