Addis Ababa beats Lagos to rapid rail transit as construction delays mount
Source: Business Day
Ethiopia has managed to deliver Sub-Saharan Africa’s first modern light rail project which opened in the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, and in the process, beat Lagos whose own rail project remains four years behind schedule.
Ethiopia’s rail project was delivered on time, despite its being longer than the Lagos – Badagry rail line currently under construction.
Addis Ababa’s two line 34-kilometre system was built by the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and cost $475m, 85 percent of which has been covered by China’s Exim bank.
The Lagos Light Rail Project or Blue on Badagry Expressway, was to have 13 stations from Okokomaiko to Marina via Iddo for a total of 27 kilometres.
The contract was awarded to the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) at the cost of $1.2 billion in 2008, and was to be delivered in 2011.
Survey work took one year between August 2009 and August 2010 while construction began July 2010.
The work is being implemented using the public and private partnership (PPP) model, whereby the state builds the infrastructure and the private sector provides the rolling stock and management.
However, the project has not worked out according to the plan.
The 2011 deadline was missed, even though the State government got a loan to fund the project.
In January 2013, the then governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, while on an inspection tour of the work being done, promised that the first phase of the Blue Light Rail project would be completed by June of 2013.
Fashola gushed then that Lagosians would start enjoying the services of the rail project immediately. According to him, “This is what we do with the loan collected by the government. We don’t use our loan to pay salaries and other recurrent expenditure, what we do with our loan is to provide capital projects that would serve the residents. When the project is completed, the state would be at par with other major cities of the world.”
Lagos has a population of just over 20 million people, compared to Addis Ababa’s five million.
The Ethiopian light rail has a capacity to carry 60,000 passengers a day across the capital of Africa’s second most populous nation.
Ethiopia was able to complete the project despite its $50 billion GDP being about half the Lagos economy.
Lagos currently doesn’t have enough infrastructure to move its teeming population, with choked roads and bridges sometimes leading to four hour “go slows” or traffic jams.
Mercy Anakwe, a young lady who resides in the Iba axis of Lagos( far from the glistening business district of Victoria Island and Ikoyi) but works in Festac, says completing the rail line would help ease her transportation costs as well as the stress of daily commuting.
“We are really suffering over here. Sometimes I wonder if the government still remembers this part of Lagos,” Anakwe said.
Ethiopia’s transport minister, Workneh Gebeyehu, said the tramway project would also boost Ethiopia’s bid to make the city — already the seat of the African Union — the undisputed continental hub.
“This is a sign of modernity. This is a very modern train that will serve the capital city of Africa. We are very proud of that,” he said.
Video: Addis Ababa launches modern urban rail service
Video: Addis Ababa light rail officially begins its service
Video: Addis Ababa Light Rail offical commencement
Video: Nairobi looks at Addis Ababa’s light rail
Metropolitan population: 4,567,857
Lagos, Nigeria rapid rail transit construction
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday approved the re-ordering of the Year 2015 budget of the state government as requested by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Governor Ambode had last week presented letter to the House titled: “Re-ordering of priorities under the 2015 Budget”.
According to the letter, the governor listed the reasons for the re-ordering to include construction of a pedestrian bridge at Ojodu Berger, construction of fly-over bridges at Ajah Roundabout and Pen Cinema, Agege.
The letter added that the budget re-ordering proposal would cater for the continuation of the construction of blue light rail project and continuation of the construction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, which converts the four-lane road into a freeway with 10 lanes and light rail tracks in-between.
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