The completion of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project set for December, 2018; may not be feasible due to some major challenges facing the project.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had given December 2018 as deadline for the completion of the project, which was originally supposed to be completed by year 2020.
Amaechi, who said he is aware of the challenges, insisted that the completion dateline will be met.
“The good news is that by December 2018 we should complete Lagos-Ibadan rail project. But we have about 43km of water pipes to be replaced. We have sewage to deal with. We have bridges to demolish and build, we have an army barracks to relocate, we have gas pipelines to relocate and other challenges. However, we are discussing with the Lagos state government on how to deal with these challenges” he assured.
However, a top management staff of CCECC, the company handling the project, who would not want his name mentioned, apart from the two bridges that will be demolished in Lagos and rebuilt, several kilometers of gas, water pipes and telecoms cables, which will have to be relocated.
“The track passes through the army barracks at Ebute Meta, that means we will have to relocate the barracks but to where?
“The government is still discussing with the military on how to relocate the barrack. Until that is done, there is little we can do. There are several water and gas pipes that have to be relocated. That’s a huge challenge because it is complicated relocating those pipes.
“Also, the existing narrow gauge track will be removed and relocated at some places” the official said.
He explained further that “At some places, the height of the high tension electricity wires needs to be elevated at least 9.5m. As we speak, we still have three kilometers of right of way not yet acquired. We still have thousands of tones of steel at the Apapa port we haven’t cleared because of the gridlock. But if the federal government can fix all these challenges, we can complete the project this year. If not, there is nothing we can do” he affirmed.
Meanwhile, about 111km right of way had been established along the corridor and over N10bn already paid out in compensation for farm lands, properties and economic trees. Excavation around the rail track path and subgrade fill/cutting had reached significant level.
Several culverts and bridges were being done simultaneously. CCECC had also commenced the new Type II of concrete sleeper production with the laying of temporary tracks in advanced stage.
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