Lagos, Africa’s 5th largest economy and Nigeria’s economic capital is preparing to sign a major memorandum of understanding, MoU, for the construction of the Fourth Mainland Bridge.
For so long, the Fourth Mainland Bridge has been a dream of many Lagosians. Local politicians in the state have over the years used it as a campaign promise. This time around, the bridge might become a reality if the statement credited to Akinwunmi Ambode, the state governor ends up to be a fact.
At the periodic Town Hall meeting held in Ikorodu, a key suburb in the state, Ambode promised that the MoU will be signed before 29th of May, 2016, a day that will mark his one year in office. According to him: “Many investors have shown interest in the actualisation of our dream for the 4th Mainland Bridge. from Ajah to Ikorodu, to Isawo, and berth at Ojodu, Ikeja, back to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway”.
He did not however state how much is the cost and the proposed duration of the project.
There are indications that the huge cost of such project may warrant Ambode”s administration to deploy private investors in constructing the bridge. The state’s 2016 budget is about NGN 662.6 billion (USD 3.3 billion) and Lagos already has various road and rail construction projects in the works.
Third Mainland Bridge, the last constructed landmark bridge connecting the Lagos Mainland and the Island is already over-stressed with a signature traffic gridlock – the bridge is pushed beyond its vehicular capacity. Lagos’ population is estimated at 22 million, by the year 2020, forecast puts the growth to climb to about 30 million. Over 60% of all professionals and white collar population live and work in the city and suburbs. The Fourth Mainland Bridge is late but a welcome addition to ease of the agonies faced by Lagosians.
Who Gets the Project?
Until 1996, the Third Mainland Bridge was the longest bridge in Africa, the 6th October Bridge located in Cairo is maintaining the position. The bridge measures 11.8 km in length With the large area the Fourth Mainland Bridge would cover, Nigeria might reclaim the position.
Built by and commissioned in 1990 by Ibrahim Babangida, a former military head of state, the bridge was constructed by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC [JBERGER:NL]. The company also constructed the famous Lekki Bridge. It is unclear if Julius Berger will be awarded the contract this time. However, with its pedigree and credibility in Nigeria, Julius Berger might be the defacto winner of the project. Bilfinger SE [ETR:GBF], Julius Berger’s majority shareholders divested and exited from the company its entire 34.3% stake in the construction giant. Bilfinger took the decision to re-position itself from a construction company to an engineering and services group. As part of the deal leading to its exit, Bilfinger still partners with Julius Berger on major projects.
Featured image source: naijafacts.com