June 08, 2009

How Lagos Was Transformed, By Fashola

The implementation of the innovative Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Lite System that ferries passengers in high-capacity buses on dedicated bus lanes has been a major accomplishment within the past couple of two years, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said.

He disclosed a week ago at Aluasa at a media session that the BRT scheme, which already over a year old, operates between CMS through Mile 12 to Ikorodu and has so far transported over 52 million passengers.

“The BRT innovation has introduced a culture of better understanding among social classes on our roads as people of low, medium and high social classes ride on the same faster, safer, predictable, relatively cheaper and more comfortable buses from one destination to the other,” he said, adding that a considerable number of people now prefer to park their private cars and travel on the buses.

“The fewer number of vehicles on the roads help to reduce travel time even on non-BRT lanes, save precious man hours and also reduce pollution. The BRT system has been strengthened with the introduction of LAGBUS, which currently runs 335 high capacity buses and 195 Daewoo air-conditioned buses along 21 operational routes as the largest Bus Intra-state Transport Operator in West Africa.”

The scheme is being expanded to cover Yaba, Oyingbo, Iddo, Oshodi to Mile 2, Apapa to CMS and ultimately the Iyana-Ipaja-Igando-Ikotun corridor.

Fashola stressed that steps have been taken to maximise the state’s water transportation potential in order to facilitate more efficient movement of goods, people and services, create employment and boost economic growth.

He disclosed, “Already, we have facilitated the operation of two companies, City Link Limited and Metro Ferry, which are offering Ferry services between Badore to Marina and Ikorodu to Marina respectively through Public-Private-Partnerships.

“To further strengthen our water transportation network, we have constructed jetties at Agboyi in Agboyi Ketu LCDA and Ijegun Egba in Ori-Ade LCDA while our standard type and ultra modern Jetties are at advanced stages of construction in Ikorodu, Osborne and Badore.

“We have equally completed work on the dredging of water transportation routes from Tolu-Ajegunle Canal-Tincan Water Front; Mile 2 – Oke-Afa and Tincan Water Front to Liverpool Bridge while work is on-going on Osborne-Ikorodu; Badore-Osborne and Ikorodu-Ijede-Badore routes.”

On rail transportation, he said that government was committed to delivering two of the planned seven-rail road network, which are the Red Line from Agbado to Marina and the Blue Line from Okokomaiko to Marina.

According to him, the ongoing construction and modernisation of roads and bridges as well as the provision of street lights will impact positively on efficiency of transportation and enhanced property values, while improving safety and security and better economic productivity.

“Some of the major road projects complete with modern facilities such as street lights, pipe ducts, drainage channels and beautification of medians, which we have delivered to the public include the Ago Palace Way Extension and Okota Link Bridge in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government; the second phase of the Adetokunbo Ademola Road on Victoria Island; the Bourdillion-Alexander-Gerald roads in Ikoyi; the Montgommery Road, Aje Road and Commercial Avenue all in Yaba,” he emphasised.

He went further, “Scores of other on-going road construction projects throughout the nooks and crannies of the state include the construction of Ariyo-Ira-Muwo-Tedi-Abule Oshun Road and bridge in Ojo Local Government; the Okota-Itire over head link bridge and road works, the Ajibulu Road and bridge in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area; the ongoing expansion and modernisation of the 46km Lekki-Epe Expressway; the virtually completed LASU-IBA and Ajah-Badore roads, the Murtala Muhammed Way from Yaba to Iddo; Herbert Macaulay Way on Lagos Mainland and the dualisation of Mobil Road and Wilmer Crescent in Apapa Local Government Area.”

Fashola disclosed that the contractor has been mobilised for the immediate commencement of work on the transformation of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway into a 10-lane international high way complete with BRT routes, pedestrian walkways and light rail mass transit routes, adding that the project would revolutionise the corridor’s landscape while elevating the state’s economy to new heights.

He contended that massive infrastructure renewal and expansion across diverse sectors is a key opportunity of “virtually constructing our way out of poverty.”

“Thus, we are constructing and equipping thousands of new classrooms, libraries and laboratories in our public schools; we are constructing at least 200 new magistrate court rooms; we are constructing massive new markets and shopping malls in Oyingbo, Oshodi, Tejuosho and Adeniran Ogunsanya.’

The governor stated that the state government’s release of counterpart fund for the development of the Lekki Free Trade Zone accelerate the growth of the axis as a major commercial, tourist, business and real estate zone in Africa, while enhancing the state’s prosperity generating and poverty alleviating capacity.

He expressed appreciation over the improvement of the quality of the state’s environment, saying that government utilised aggressive beautification and greening of open spaces to uplift the environment’s aesthetic appeal, and create jobs and alleviate poverty.

“The transformation of Oshodi is undeniably the flag ship of our efforts in this regard,” said, adding that apart from a smooth flow of traffic, the entire area is being renewed into a serene and appealing environment.

He described the new Simpson Transfer Loading Station as the first of a series of such stations to be located across the state to compact wastes into smaller volumes for faster and more efficient evacuation to dump sites with fewer trucks.

The Olusosun dumpsite along the entry point to Lagos near Ojota, he said, has transformed from a smoke-belching dumpsite to an environmentally-friendly site covered in lush green grass in accordance with emerging global trends.

Fashola added that on-going major drainage and channel construction works continue in Mushin-Cele through Mushin, Idi-Araba and Itire; the first phase of the lining and dredging of System 5 Channel passing through Apapa, Amukoko and Sari-Iganmu; and the first phase of the dredging and lining of System 2 Channel (Shomolu Canal) running through Shomolu, Bajulaiye, Akoka, Gbagada and Iwaya, and other parts of the sate to channel rain and storm water to their final draining points which are the lagoons, rivers and the sea.

He went on, “The cleaning of our environment and aggressive tree planting campaign and enforcement of our physical planning laws are meant to preserve lives and property and show intellectual leadership in tackling the menace of climate change in Nigeria. We have established the future character of our environment by setting up Climate Change Clubs in our schools to get our future leaders involved early. We successfully hosted this year the first Lagos State International Climate Change Summit which came up with a pro active action plan to contain the challenge in Lagos State and Nigeria.

“Our new Model City legislation, which was recently signed into law, has enabled the creation of a State Model Development City Authority that will ensure the orderly and lawful development of model city areas of the state such as Victoria Island/Ikoyi, Alimosho, Badagry, Lagos Mainland Central, Epe, Agege-Ifako-Ijaiye, Apapa, Ikeja and Ikorodu.’

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How Lagos Was Transformed, By Fashola

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