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Lagos and the development of integrated transport system

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In Lagos State, the first leg of the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration is Traffic Management and Transportation.

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From inception, the administration’s core focus has been on how to achieve a safe, reliable, effective, and efficient Integrated Multi-Modal Transportation System for an emerging Smart City of over 22 million people.

Indeed, Mr. Governor demonstrated his preparedness to change the traffic narratives in the state by making the signing of the Executive Order on Traffic Management and Public Works the first statutory duty performed by his administration. The Executive Order extended the working hours of operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, to 11:00 pm.

This has so far been followed up with a lot of reforms and huge investment in the transport sector to meet up with current challenges. From Roundabout/Junction Improvement Works, Traffic signal lights (TSLs) Management, the LRMT Red Line Project, expansion of LAGFERRY operations to new areas, Blue Line project to the deployment of technologies in ticketing etc, the government’s tenacity to solving transportation challenges has not been in doubt.

The Sanwo-Olu administration’s strategic and creative solutions to improving public transportation have been both diagnostic and curative, backed by proper policy articulation and focused implementation.

Of particular significance is the identification of 60 gridlock points across the state. The solution provided to improve traffic at the 60 identified junctions included: rehabilitation, channelization, signalization, concrete pavement, bridge construction and installation of traffic light.

Of the 60 gridlock spots identified for remodeling to achieve traffic improvement, 28 have been completed, while 22 will be delivered in the coming weeks. Ikotun roundabout, Maryland junction, Aromire/Adeniyi Jones junction, Agidingbi Road: Acme – Wempco – Hakeem Balogun Junctions, Adeniji Adele / Sura / Obalende/ MUSON Centre/ TBS Corridor are examples of where the junction improvement project has solved traffic problem in the state.

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Considering the Sanwo-Olu administration’s resolve to develop an efficient and reliable intermodal transport system, the government is currently pursuing an integrated affordable multi-modal transport system. Consequently, the government is investing in the development of water transportation. Cheerfully, the investment is yielding concrete dividends.

For instance, in 124 days of operation, the Lagos State Ferry Service, LAGFERRY, had ferried 100,000 passengers. Also, between February 2020 and March 2021, the Agency has ferried over 500, 000 passengers through the waterways. The Agency also recorded the biggest single-day milestone with 12 boats commuting 1,175 passengers, traversing 1,442 kilometers.

LAGFERRY has also extended its operations to Two (2) new routes; Bayeku – Okeiranla – Badore and Ilaje Bariga – Victoria Island – Falomo – CMS/Marina – Ebute Ero. This brings the total of new routes to 8, cutting across all senatorial districts in the State.

LAGFERRY has also improved the enabling commerce environment by providing logistics solutions to notable industries like Dangote Industry, BUA Industries and Crown Flour Mills among others through the movement of their goods by barges from Mile 2 to Apapa on the waterways.

Between January and December 2020, LAGFERRY had moved 41, 040 trucks from the Mile 2 terminal, with 2, 308 cleared goods containers received from the ports. This also created over 284 employment opportunities, directly and indirectly, for different categories of people, through Cargo barging.

To encourage and promote the local economy, LAGFERRY, through the approval of the Governor, engaged local private boat builders in building some of the Agency’s boats, 7 of which will be delivered soon. This will be added to the existing 12 passengers’ boats and 1 barge making up 20. LAGFERRY’s 180 tonnages barge, which can be used for weddings, birthdays, seminars etc, is available for public hire.

To demonstrate its resolve to give Lagosians a befitting intermodal transport system, the current administration has made bold moves to develop rail transport. According to the State’s Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, the funding for the Blue Line Rail project is ready. In fact, there is assurance that it will be commissioned alongside the Red Line by the end of next year.

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The Blue Line, which traverses Mile 2 and Marina, is a project that started in 2013, but was temporarily stalled by funding before the Sanwo-Olu administration came on board. Funding has now been secured for the completion of the project. This is, no doubt, a major progress for the Blue Line rail project, which spans from National Theater via Ijora to Marina. This section is a 5.5km elevated rail route that span s over Lagos Lagoon through Ebute-Ero to Elegbata and Marina.

There is also cheery news concerning the Red Line. Governor Sanwo-Olu recently performed the groundbreaking for the construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving more than one million commuters daily.

The rail corridor will be constructed in three phases. The first phase (Agbado-Iddo), which will be completed in 24 months, will be sharing track with the Federal Government’s Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project up to Ebute–Metta. It will have its dedicated track from Ebute–Metta to Oyingbo and reduce travel time from about two and a half hours to just 35 minutes. The passenger capacity of the first phase is 500,000 daily.

To be fully operational in the last quarter of 2022, the Red Line, a project of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will have eight train stations – from Agbado to Oyingbo.

The Red Line is to raise mass transportation capacity in the State, complementing the Blue Line that traverses from Okokomaiko to Marina. The Blue Line is at 78 percent completion.

The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

Another unique feature is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with the Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to the people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure.

Commencement of work on the Red Line demonstrates the government’s commitment to achieving an efficient transportation system in enhancing the people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.

The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving the current administration’s vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible.

Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, it is logical that the government is committing huge investment to the development of transport infrastructure.

Musbau is an Assistant Director, Public Affairs Unit, Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency, LASIAMA.


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