In May 2013, while opening the then newly completed First West African cable-Stayed Bridge in Lagos, The Governor of Lagos has declared, :
“Of course, the compelling need for a 4th Mainland Bridge and possibly a 5th and 6th bridge and expanded ferry services are all now no longer debatable.We are still working ceaselessly to start the commencement of the 4th Mainland Bridge and we have made lots of progress to soon commence an alternative mode of crossing the Lagoon from Lekki to Ikorodu with the completion of the Ipakodo and Badore ferry terminals, as we race to conclude the Osborne Terminal that will complete what I call the Lagos Lagoon ferry triangle,” Gov Raji Fashola (May 2013)
Many Citizens wondered how in the world the State would get the fund to achieve such an audacious dream after just commissioning one gigantic project? Pessimists and sceptics believed it will be a pipe dream.But the action man of Lagos has another idea, he was determined to find a way despite the paucity of fund and many other projects requring the State’s attention. But recent reports show that the State have finally found a way to fund its ambitious project. Private investors will finance the construction of a N220 billion Fourth Mainland Bridge in Lagos according to the state’s Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze. Speaking at the 2013 Seminar/Luncheon of the Financial Services Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Akabueze said the federal or states government would not be financing the bridge as private sector investors have already made plans to invest N220 billion in the construction of it. On the state’s budget and performance, the commissioner said Lagos State requires a larger budget than it currently operates.
“Lagos State has consistently recorded good budgetary performance, more than any other state government in Nigeria,” he said. “We have tried to make the people to own the budget, and make it work for them because effective budgetary systems and implementation have contributed significantly to socio-economic development in Lagos.” According to him, investment in infrastructure simultaneously tackles a number of challenges such as job creation, poverty reduction, lower cost of operations for manufacturing and commercial enterprises.
The need for Forth Mainland becomes imperative in the face of increasing activities on Lagos Roads which brought with it “intense congestion; causing pressures that threaten to paralyze the city’s circulation, its growth and its people.” According to the consultant handling the design:
“To reduce this pressure, we propose an operation – the 4th Mainland Bridge. The operation will be the insertion of a bypass; a bridge within the body of Lagos. In addition to this bridge, we also propose a new heart to support the bridge. This ‘new bridge and new heart’ in the body of Lagos will not be typical infrastructure; they will connect people in large numbers and improve their natural flow through a reorganization of vehicular, waterways, and pedestrian modes of transportation.The 2 level bridge will not only function as a means for vehicular traffic on its upper level, it will stimulate and accommodate pedestrian, social, commercial and cultural interactions on it’s lower level – ‘Lagos Life’ – with its tropical environment and intimate street level exchanges. The Fourth Mainland Bridge in conjunction with existing road networks would establish a primary ring road around Lagos. This ring road will provide alternative traffic routes from Lekki to Ikorodu, Ikeja to Ajah, relieving the 3rd Mainland bridge of its overstretched capacity. With this improved flow of people across Lagos, the city will be relieved of traffic congestion, will maximize its great opportunities and grow better.”
This should be a good news for the State and the People. It frees up funds that can be invested in other sector while assuring delivery of world class infrastructures. Akabueze noted that the state requires a much larger budget than it currently operates, adding that inadequate revenues constitute the principal impediment to achieving a larger budget. “Lagos State has consistently recorded good budgetary performance, more than any other state government in Nigeria. We have tried to make the people to own the budget, and make it work for them because effective budgetary systems and implementation have contributed significantly to socio-economic development in Lagos.” he said.
My Engineers welcome this development and look forward to beginning and completion of the construction of this iconic bridge. A bonus to growing world class infrastructures in Lagos, and Nigeria. We identify with the State aspiration and urge the people to support the government in every way possibly toward achieving this goals. Governor Fashola reminds us of words of Soni Founder, Masaru Ibuka (at its inception): “We Worked famously (to realise our goals). Because we didnt have fear, we could do something drastic…” Fortune favour the bold and the visionaries.
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