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NPA Usman

Lekki traffic torments may be worse than Apapa in future if…NPA MD

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Contrary to current momentary traffic gridlocks experienced daily on the sole Lekki-Epe Expressway being tolled and managed by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), now a State Government entity, movement nightmares on the axis will surge on delivery of several ongoing deep pocket projects.
The investments include the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport; 650,000-barrel per day (bpd) Dangote Refinery; and the Lekki Free Trade Zone that will accommodate more than 48 companies.
This will compete for road usage with the ever-growing residential homes on the Peninsula which may later run into the crisis of ocean surge as tidal tension that was hitherto along Ahmadu Bello Way may have relocated along the Lekki peninsula waterfronts after all.
However, answering questions from select media executives in Lagos recently, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman averred that “The extension of a rail system to the Lekki area of Lagos will help the state avert another traffic disaster in the next few years when ongoing projects will be delivered and running”.
According to her, “Given the multiplicity of mega projects in the area, such an infrastructure will guarantee sanity and flow of traffic when the projects take off”.
Recent checks by Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU) on current traffic situation along the single highway showed that it may not be easy for the State Government to squeeze in another highway linking Lagos Island and the Peninsula not just because of cost, but space as the Peninsula is naturally slim and long however.
Additional findings show that when all the new developments become operational, they will definitely drive a shift in vehicular volume and movements of articulated vehicles that will not only deface the choice residential haven of wealthy Nigerians, but make life almost unbearable for them.
However, in her proactive efforts to find a solution ahead of the impending traffic crisis in Lekki axis just few years to come, NPA boss told Business Hilights that the Authority had two years ago, written to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), to ensure rail connection to the site of the Deep Sea Port with additional plea to Dangote Refinery to consider pipelines for local circulation of products.
The Deep Seaport is primed to become one of the largest deep water ports in sub-Sahara Africa as the promoters are targeting about 1.5 million 20ft equivalent units container capacity yearly, which is expected to grow to about 2.7million and 4.7million TEUs, when operations commence.
She noted that Dangote Group was also contacted to make provisions for pipelines for products evacuation to avoid trucks parking on the roads while trying to pick products from that axis.
Explaining more, Usman averred that “When we took over two years ago, there was no provision for rail connection out of Lekki, in the Deep Seaport plan, which I found quite strange that you can have a deep seaport without the need for rail connection.
“It will take you two years to build the port but five years to build the rail.
So, we have written the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure that there is a rail connection.
“The same way we have written the Dangote Refinery to have pipeline evacuation of liquids out of the refinery in Lekki, so that you don’t have trucks parking, and looking for where to pick products from the refinery.
“There is also a proposed Lekki By-Pass in addition to the road that Lagos State is constructing, linking Lekki to Shagamu.
“So, one, there must be pipelines for product evacuation; two, there must be rail connection; three, there must be additional means of road transportation, and the Lagos access road also need to be prioritized” NPA managing director confirmed.

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