Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos on Thursday kicked off construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, and expected to move more than one million commuters daily when completed
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.
The ceremony was held at the proposed site of the Ikeja Train Station. It was witnessed by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who was represented by the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
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.
He said the traffic management and transportation pillar in his Government’s development blueprint – Project THEMES – was being implemented with the goal to develop an efficient and sustainable transportation model that would improve mobility, promote economic growth and enhance the living conditions of residents.
The governor said the implementation of the Red Line was being supported under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (DCRR) programme – a financing package put in place by the State Government through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN).
The Governor presented cheques of varying amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses and accommodation will be affected by the project. Over 263 properties are affected. Many of the property owners and tenants were smiling as they got their cheques.
Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the Red Line as a continuation of the implementation of the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which made provision for six standard rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors and over 20 waterway routes.
Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the project was a bold step and commitment of the Governor to solving transportation challenges in line with his administration’s development blueprint.
She noted that the construction would not be delayed by funding and human factors, as stakeholders were duly carried along in the projects.
The Lagos mass transit rail dream began in 1983 during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, but it was stopped by the then Federal Government. Sanwo-Olu has vowed to ensure that the Blue Line and the Red Line are completed to the memory of the late Jakande.