The Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has said that the ongoing construction of the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line would reduce traffic pressure on expressways in the country.
Alhaji Muhammed Musa, the Lagos State Chairman of RTEAN confirmed that the project would reduce the pressure and hassles people face on highways on the daily basis.
Musa said that the development would also reduce the amount spent on road maintenance annually when completed.
“We are happy for the development of the new standard gauge railway projects. The development will give passengers the option of travelling either by road or by rail as it is in advanced countries.
“It will also reduce the pressure placed on the roads by articulated vehicles and petrol tankers,’’ Musa said.
According to him, the standard gauge will modernise the country’s transportation system and boost the economies of various communities and inter-state business activities.
The RTEAN chairman said that the railway would also enhance freight services, thereby reducing the number of trailers and tankers on the expressway.
He, however, advised the government to embark on general rehabilitation of federal roads to curb crashes and robbery cases on the highways.
“There are constant accidents along Owo-Okenne-Lokoja road which government has to be proactive in its rehabilitation to avoid further loss of lives on the axis on regular basis,’’ the RTEAN boss said.
The chairman also urged the people to give more support to the government to ensure more developmental projects.
“The railway projects are for the progress of the citizens and we have been praying for it for a long time.
“And God has finally brought it through this government that is why we have to give them support so as to do more for the benefit of the people,” he said.
According to him, more than 10,000 articulated vehicles and tankers flood Apapa Lagos for haulage and freight movement which should not be so, with the train in place, goods transportation will be easier,” he said.
NAN reports that Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport in August said that construction on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Rail Gauge had reached about 90 per cent completion.
Amaechi made the disclosure this while inspecting the project at the Ewekoro-Papalanto axis of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
“We are progressing but there is no way they can fast-track the project during the rains but 90 per cent of the construction works has been done.
“I have told them to work day and night, to ensure the project keeps moving as expected, especially on the bridges and construction of a modern station at Ebuta-Meta Lagos,” Amaechi had said.
It has been reported that the 1.5 billion dollars (about 458 billion dollars) railway Spanning 156.65 kilometres, which construction began last year is expected to end in December 2018 has been shifted to the first quarter of 2019.
It is being carried out in partnership with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The Federal Government and the CCECC had last year signed the contract for the construction of both the new Lagos-Ibadan and Calabar-Port Harcourt rail lines after the two parties agreed to cut down the cost of the projects from $11.917 billion dollars to 11.117 billion dollars.