From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Starting from Lagos, the laying of tracks in the ongoing construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge line will start next month, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi, who spoke at Papalanto in Ogun State during his assessment of the progress work, said he was satisfied with the speed of the project and was sure it would be delivered as scheduled in 2019.
Regretting that pipelines, cables and other underground utilities in the cities, especially Lagos, had slowed the speed at which the project was billed to progress, he stated, however, that the engineers were now ensuring proper channels before laying the tracks.
He urged patience, and assuring that the project would be monitored till delivery, Amaechi said that government does not “want to put the engineers under much pressure because there is standard for everything.
“This is a three-year project; we are only trying to deliver it within a year because our people have been waiting earnestly for the standard gauge operation. But we are still targeting January 2019 for delivery.”
Meanwhile, he disclosed that certain allied aspects of the project were being reconsidered, including the proposed demolition of about 1,400 houses in Abeokuta for the terminal, which has now been shelved.
According to him, “when the project was signed in 2016, there were no houses in the area, but (now) we see many houses have been built in the community,” but the right of way from Ibadan to Lagos is clear, while the construction of bridges and culverts are ongoing.
He further tasked the contractor to get more manpower and equipment to work on the segments yet unattended so as to meet the deadline.