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N299b Abuja rail nears completion 11 years after


Abuja rail

Eleven years after former President Olusegun Obasanjo flagged-off the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project in an attempt to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Federal Government yesterday, said the project may become operational soon.

Government disclosed that tracks as well as 12 stations of the first phase of the projects were already completed while procurement of rolling stock (wagons, etc) was ongoing.

The 12 completed stations are the Metro Station, Stadium, Wupa, Kukwaba one and two, Gwagwa, Dei-Dei, Idu, Bassanjiwa, Airport, Kagini, and Bazango stations, the government said on its twitter handle @AsoRock.

It added that the trial phase would commence soon, ahead of full operations.

The project, which would connect city centre to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, would offer a light rail transport system that would ease transport challenges in the city.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo initiated the project with an official groundbreaking ceremony in May 2007 in order to host Commonwealth Games in 2014. But lack of funds for the project delayed its completion.

Initially, diesel rolling stock will be used; electrification will be undertaken when electricity supplies are more reliable. Rails will be imported; sleepers are being produced locally.

The first phase of the project will connect the city center to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and stop at the standard gauge railway station in Idu.

Though the contractor handling the project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) had said the first phase of the project would be commissioned by last year, projection has remained elusive.

The construction, which consisted of lots 1A and 3, covering 45km when completed would link Gwagwalada, Nyanya and Mararaba as well as Keffi Nasarawa state and Suleja in Niger State.

The secretary, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Transport Secretariat, Kayode Opeifa had disclosed that government had taken delivery of three coaches, meant for the test operations of the railway.

Opeifa said the administration could not commence test run of the rail lines due to preliminary logistics needed before the exercise.

He said the coaches have a total capacity of 390 passengers, adding that all hands are now on deck for the commencement of the operations

Opeifa, who had said the facility of the stations were all ultra-modern, disclosed that there are modern shopping and eateries across the stations.

The federal government also added that the FCT administration in the last two years have completed critical projects including the Kubwa Expressway, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Expressway, Aso Villa Roundabout Bridge capping Outer Northern Express Road as well as Bill Clinton Interchange connecting Airport Driveway.

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