Two years and two months after the ground-breaking ceremony of the $1.5bn Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, the Federal Government at the weekend, declared the project 70 per cent completed from Ebutte-Metta, Lagos, to Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, however, said from Ebutte-Metta to the Lagos Port in Apapa, the project was about 10 to 15 per cent completed.
The project was originally designed from Ebute-Metta to Ibadan, but the minister extended it to Apapa to make it possible for mass movement of cargo in order to reduce the congestion in the port.
Amaechi spoke at the weekend during the inspection of the project, as well as a valedictory project steering committee meeting held with the contractor, Nigeria Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), in Papalanto, Ogun State.
Amaechi, on Friday and Saturday, led officials of the ministry and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) led by its Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, on the inspection which took them to the Apapa Port and Ibadan on Friday and Saturday respectively.
The minister said track laying for the project had reached 123km out of the 156-kilometer stretch of the project, adding that the track laying would soon get to Ibadan.
Daily Trust reports that virtually all the civil works comprising 21 bridges have been completed; all beams erected.
Also, it was observed on Saturday that a new bridge has been constructed at Costain ahead of the demolition of the existing bridge which was earmarked.
According to the NRC MD, a new bridge in Jibowu will soon be constructed to replace the existing one marked for demolition.
Similarly, the team inspected the construction of stations which have also reached advanced stage except for the Apapa Station where some property are to be demolished to give way for expansion and future development.
The minister, however, directed NRC to evaluate the property leased out by the corporation to many companies and businesses in Apapa, saying those whose leases had expired would be sent packing, while those with existing leases would be duly compensated.
He said there was need to create more room for the station in Apapa to accommodate a shopping complex and a hotel.
An emotional Amaechi said despite the humongous challenges experienced in the Lagos corridor, he was satisfied with the progress of work.
The minister said he felt gratified that the project got to Lagos from Abeokuta, Ogun State.