The laying of tracks for the 150-kilometer Lagos- Ibadan standard gauge railway project would commence in April 2018, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed.
He stated this on Tuesday in Ogun state after a meeting of the Project Steering Committee with China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the Contractors handling the $1.5bn project.
The minister alongside the Chairman of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Usman Abubakar, Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, among other officials in the Ministry inspected the project sites at Ijoko, Itori, Awado and Papalanto all in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun state where massive work gas started.
The Minister who briefed newsmen after the meeting at Papalanto also disclosed that the Ministry has agreed with the Lagos State Government to demolish two bridges at Jibowu and Costain in Lagos.
The bridges as well as gas pipelines, water channels, among others have created encumbrances to the smooth take off of the project.
Amaechi assured that before next month when the committee would hold another meeting, all the challenges bothering on right of way would have been addressed.
He added that the Ministry is working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to resolve the issue with the gas pipelines.
He told the contractors to speed up the construction work, saying the December 2018 target for the delivery of the project remains sacrosanct.
The Minister said, "We will meet again next month and by next month we expect that the right of way would have been properly cleared from beginning to the end. We expect that to happen. We are impressed with the speed of work.
"It was also agreed that they would start laying tracks by April, no longer December and we hope that when they start they would be able to complete before the end of 2018 December so that we can commission it by January.
"We looked at the Jibowu bridge and the Costain bridge and we agreed that the two of them would have to go. We have agreed with the governor on the arrangement we have to make before they go.
"They cannot just go because of the management of traffic. So what we agreed is that we would construct two new bridges at Costain so that by the time we finish it, we can then demolish the existing ones. While the one at Jibowu, we would do the flyover across that area and demolish the Jibowu bridge. That we have decided."