BRIDGING OPPORTUNITIES

Nigeria 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | FOCUS: THE FOURTH BRIDGE

Aimed at increasing interconnectivity within the state, reducing traffic congestion, and improving the quality of life of residents, the fourth Mainland Bridge in Lagos is set to become a key infrastructural accomplishment.

The need to develop infrastructure in order to support stable development has become a major concern for all nations across the globe. The population of Lagos is growing at a phenomenal rate and in order to tackle the traffic gridlock, innovative initiatives have to be undertaken. The Akinwunmi Ambode administration in Lagos state continually seeks to revamp infrastructure within the state. For many, the most ambitious infrastructure initiative is the proposed plan for the construction of a fourth mainland bridge in Lagos, which will also be a substitute route towards the eastern axis and, at the same time, reduce traffic congestion within the state.

In May 2016, Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, announced he had signed an MoU for the construction of this bridge. The bridge is the culmination of a 14-year dream and will gear the economy of the state. The project is being initiated by a PPP at the cost of NGN844billion to be delivered within three years. According to the plan, there will be eight interchanges in the bridge, which will facilitate interconnectivity between the different parts of Lagos. The bridge will be constructed like a carriageway with dual four-lane roads. The median of the bridge will be generous and will allow both light railway facility with the option for further expansion.

The value and significance of the proposed project lies within its capacity to quickly ease traffic congestion in the Lekki Corridor and redistribute traffic in the Lagos mainland, which will also see increasing road infrastructure demands in the future. According to Ambode, this bridge will not only deliver the required traffic solution but will also complement the increasing industrial activities in the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe corridor of the state.

There is no doubt there are huge gains rooted within this project. In addition to improving the quality of life of local residents, the bridge is also considered to be an asset that will be handed over to the government of Lagos at the end of the concession arrangement. The two-level 38km-long bridge will not only facilitate vehicular traffic at the upper level but will also accommodate and stimulate pedestrian, commercial, cultural, and social interactions on the lower level. With a tropical environment and the possibility of developing restaurants and bars, the bridge has the potential to become a big player in Lagos' social life. The fourth Mainland Bridge will connect to the existing road network and establish a ring road in Lagos. This will provide alternative routes from Ikeja to Ajah and from Lekki to Ikorodu, thereby relieving the overstretched capacity of the third Mainland Bridge.

When completed, the project will be counted amongst the longest bridges connecting Lagos Island with the mainland. During the conception and designing phase, the bridge project was halted several times as up to 3,000 structures were expected to be affected by its construction. In order to continue with the bridge design, a new alignment design was developed and based on this new concept, some 2,200 structures will be saved from destruction. At the same time, the amount of compensation expected to be handed out was also significantly reduced.

This bridge project is formulated over a win-win framework for all its investors. Governor Ambode has assured all Lagos residents that his administration is committed to developing in Lagos state a world-class system of transportation, which is key to attaining sustainable economic growth. For the government of any state, particularly in developing countries, the development of infrastructure is extremely crucial to attaining growth in any sector of the economy. This aspect clearly explains why the government of Lagos state continually undertakes efforts to improve its infrastructure across the state. The result will be an improved flow of people within the state, relieved traffic congestion, accelerated growth, and maximizing all opportunities to their fullest potential.