Lagos and the prospect of 4th Mainland Bridge
Infrastructure development is critical to achieving human capital development in any society. The economic impact that infrastructure improvement has on nation building cannot be over-emphasised. Considering the statistics that about 85 percent of the people in the world reside in the developing world and transition economies, and with 67 percent of that population below age 35, the need for infrastructure development to support enduring development remains a matter of major concern for all nations of the world.
Across the world, provision of crucial services is still far below required expectation as almost 1.6 billion people have no access to power, 1.2 billion people lack access to safe and potable drinking water while 2.4 billion are faced with the challenge of insufficient medical facilities. Ironically, the infrastructure’s budget of many developing countries is dwindling.
Without a doubt, the growth of any country’s economy hugely depends on the status of its infrastructure. The dearth of needed infrastructure in a given society places serious limitation on human capital development. It is in view of its crucial role to achieving rapid economic growth that advanced nations of the world commit huge investment to infrastructural development. J.F. Kennedy, a former President of the United States of America, USA, once put the relationship between infrastructure development and economic prosperity into a proper perspective when he affirmed that: “America has good roads, not because America is rich, but America is rich because it has good roads”.
Essentially, the prosperity of a nation depends on the state of its infrastructure. From the ancient Roman Empire to the super economic powers of the 21st century, it has been clearly demonstrated that no nation can accomplish true greatness without evolving pragmatic strategies for long-term infrastructure development.
According to the World Bank, every 1% of government funds spent on infrastructure leads to an equivalent 1% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which invariably means that there is a correlation between any meaningful inputs in infrastructure development which reflects on economic growth, indices, hence the value of infrastructure cannot be underplayed.
It is in view of the centrality of infrastructure development to the advancement of socio-economic course of the society that the Ambode administration in Lagos state, since its inauguration in May, 2015, has been at the forefront of infrastructure regeneration and development in the state. That Lagos has become one massive construction site, of late, is not in doubt. Presently, the list of concluded and on-going infrastructure development projects in the state is endless. Today, in Lagos, new blocks of classrooms are springing up in public schools, new roads and bridges are being constructed and commissioned while existing ones are being re-habilitated at different locations with quality delivery being the watchword.
Similarly, the Light up Lagos Project has continued to improve safety for drivers, commuters, riders and pedestrians, thereby ensuring they don’t suffer from decreased visibility at nights.
In a bid to enhance service delivery of the BRT scheme, the Ambode administration equally launched over 400 air-conditioned buses on the ever busy Ikorodu road from Ikorodu roundabout to CMS. It is now the in-thing for residents of this area to board these buses which now make their journey more predictable. The proposed Oshodi Transport Interchange is another project aimed at improving the face of public transportation in the state.
In-spite of the numerous strides of the Ambode administration in infrastructure improvement, perhaps the most audacious of the administration’s infrastructure initiatives thus far is the proposed plant for the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge.
At a brief state event, the Lagos State Government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set in motion the construction of the 38km 4th Mainland Bridge. With that singular act, Lagos is set to achieve a landmark feat in its 50 years of existence. The Bridge, which is principally meant to address the perennial Lagos traffic gridlock concern, is equally geared towards socio-economic growth in the State. A Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative to be financed by Africa Finance Corporation, Access Bank and other private investor at a cost of N844billion, the project is to be delivered in three years.
The bridge is to be made up of eight interchanges to facilitate effective interconnectivity between different parts of the State. It would be a Four-lane dual carriageway with each comprising three lanes and two meters hard shoulder on each side. It will be constructed with a generous median to allow for both future carriageway expansion and light rail facility.
More importantly, the bridge will provide the requisite transportation support to the rapidly developing Eti-Osa – Lekki – Epe corridor of the State. This is evident in the proposed alignment of the bridge which will pass through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeku towns along the shoreline of the Lagos Lagoon estuaries, further running through Igbogbo River Basin and crossing the Lagos Lagoon estuaries to Itamaga Area in Ikorodu. The alignment will also cross through the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu – Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos Ibadan Expressway at Ojodu Berger axis. The Bridge, among others, would accommodate cyclists, pedestrians, two service areas as well as additional pedestrian crossing.
Considering Lagos phenomenal population growth rate, it is obvious that if the recurrent Lagos traffic gridlock is to be tackled headlong something more daring must be done. This has made the necessity of a 4th Mainland Bridge that will serve as an alternative route to the Eastern axis and decongest traffic in the State a compelling one.
Undoubtedly, vast gain would stem from the project as it is particularly anticipated to make life more comfortable for Lagosians. According to Governor Ambode, the significance of the bridge will be entirely treasured when it is imagined what the Lagos of today would have looked like without the 3rd Mainland Bridge.
Aside improving the quality of life of the people, the Bridge would also be a big asset that would be handed to the Lagos State Government at the end of the concession arrangement. The significant and value of the proposed construction lies in its capacity to rapidly decongest the traffic within Lekki Corridor and redistribute traffic towards Lagos Mainland which serves to meet increased future road infrastructure demands.
For any government that worth its salt, particularly in developing countries, infrastructure development remains crucial to attaining growth across all sectors. This explains why the Lagos state government is continuously thinking and working to improve infrastructure across the state.
Ogunbiyi is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.