The mass transit rail project called the Blue Line awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation had suffered many delays due to paucity of funds and other challenges.
But the state government said on Sunday that after a comprehensive review of the project, it had approved a road map proposed by its consultants to complete the civil infrastructure as well as the operation and maintenance infrastructure needed for the commencement of passenger operation in 2022.
A statement by the Assistant Director, Corporate Communication at the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, Kolawole Ojelabi, said the state government had engaged consultants to carry out a technical review and due diligence on the implementation of the project, which substantially focussed on civil work, and reported back to government that operation of the first phase could only commence in 2022.
“Following the report, Alstom SA France, who are experienced international railway systems aggregator and rolling stocks manufacturer, with over 100 years of railway experience covering 60 countries, was engaged to review the report of the consultant. Alstom SA agreed with the submission of the consultant that the first phase of the rail project could only become operational in 2022 based on proposed funding pattern,” it stated.
It quoted the Managing Director of LAMATA, Abiodun Dabiri, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Lagos State Government, as saying the agreement was the result of the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode towards the transformation of public transportation in the state.
Dabiri said for ease of implementation, the work plan had been divided into two phases.
According to him, the first phase one is aimed at demonstrating the non-public operation of the existing rolling stock before end of second quarter of 2019.
He said, “For this purpose, a track length of about 3.0km from Iganmu station to National Theatre will be electrified. This operation would be done with the rolling stocks already supplied for the Blue Line project. This phase would allow the completion of all the preliminary work that would lead to the financing of the main work in phase two. Phase one will be fully financed by the Lagos State Government through Internally Generated Revenue.”
Dabiri said the second phase two expected to be completed in 39 months would entail the provision and installation of railway operations’ systems for the project from Marina to Mile 2 and the delivery of the Blue Line by 2022.
“On completion, the rail projects would reduce congestion and pressure on the road which will lessen maintenance cost and increase the lifespan of road network, promote modal shift as private car owners and public bus commuters will move towards the use of rail as a safer and more convenient option. It will also enhance quality of life and reduce pollution on many road transport corridors,” LAMATA stated.
The statement also reported a Director of Alstom SA, Mr Guy Jean-Pierre, as thanking the state government for the opportunity to partner with it on the Blue Line project.
He promised that Alstom would work to ensure the delivery of the project to passenger operation by bringing on board required expertise and experience in rail system management.