• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Aggressive infrastructure drive seen boosting economy in Lagos suburbs

The aggressive infrastructural drive of Lagos State government, which is opening up the city suburbs, has the potential of boosting the economy of those areas as it is encouraging new investments in residential property, leading to migration of people from the congested city centre.
A new lease of life is already emerging in the state with the improvement in traffic flow, which has been recorded along major axes where the infrastructure drive has led to the construction of slip roads, pedestrian bridges and flyovers.
For most Lagos residents and those of other cities, for that matter, access road and traffic situations are key determinants of the choice of areas of residence, siting of businesses and property investment.
Last week, the state government commissioned two new flyover bridges on the Abule Egba and Ajah axes with the sole aim of tackling the challenge of traffic jams along the Lagos-Abeokuta and Lekki-Epe expressway, respectively.
In addition to the construction of laybys at the traffic-infested Ojodu-Berger area on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a network of roads was also opened in Epe, among other projects, aimed at opening the rural areas and discouraging urban drift.
Experts are of the view that absence of transportation infrastructure and development in rural semi-urban areas is a factor in the high concentration of the population in city centres across cities in Nigeria. Millions of the Lagos population live in slums and uninhabitable houses.
It takes an average of two to three hours in energy sapping traffic jams to travel from outskirts of the city like Alagbado, Langbasa, Ado, Epe and Ikorodu among others, to the city centre, forcing millions of average residents who should ordinarily get cheaper accommodation in those areas, to clamp in poorly ventilated accommodation within the metropolis because of proximity to work and business places.
According to Adetokunbo Ajayi, CEO, Propertygate Investment and Development Company, the traffic jams on most of the Lagos roads impact negatively on human health.
“Apart from the impact on health of motorists, the gridlock also affects value of assets. “We cannot possibly quantify the cost, but in addition to loss of promotions in offices and asset degradation, the anarchy on our roads also curtails development activities”.
With the bridges at the Ajah Roundabout on Lekki-Epe Expressway and at Abule Egba, on Lagos-Abeokua Expressway, it is expected that there would be a better flow of traffic on these highways, reduction in man-hour, improvement in the productivity of residents, and general boost in socio-economic activities around the affected areas.
The Ajah Bridge is a 160 metre long dual carriageway with total length of 620 metres while Abule Egba Bridge is 1.3km with a water fountain. Both bridges are designed with traffic signalisation, street lighting, walkways, service ducts and drainage infrastructure. Also handed over yesterday was 2.7km Freedom Road and 2.2km Admiralty Way in Lekki.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the opening of the bridges disclosed that “we had to give this project priority because of its strategic importance to the economic growth of the LFTZ and the Ibeju-Lekki-Epe axis. This axis will play a key role in the future prosperity of Lagos as the home to many multi-billion naira private investments in the Zone as well as the upcoming seaport and airport.
Already, many investors are taking position along the Lekki-Epeh Expressway, but this is buoyed by the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) in the sleepy Ibeju Lekki. Today, this rural community is a fast developing corridor in Lagos. This is where the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Lekki Deep Seaport, Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Industry, Dangote Fertilizer Plant, International (Cargo) Airport, Lekki International Golf Course, Pan Atlantic University, Eleganza Industries are being developed.
Over 1,000 staff of Dangote Refinery have been provided accommodation by developers, while others are still providing within and outside the zone. Over 8,000 engineers will be engaged by Dangote Refinery and the satisfaction of their housing needs is a clear opportunity for both public and private investors
Unconfirmed report has it that the LFTZ has attracted about $10.1billion investment commitments from about 49 investors. Presently, only about 20 percent of the available space around the area is being utilized and that injection of investments in the region is set to transform the existing environ into a highly industrialized area with mixed-use developments, leading to rapid economic growth, increased migration rate and creation of about 300,000 jobs.
“As a government, we are irrevocably committed to making Lagos an investment haven and we have made it a duty to put in place top class infrastructure that will facilitate movement of people, goods and materials. We are confident that these initiatives will boost commercial activities in this axis, support economic growth and significantly reduce travel time as well as other costs associated with traffic challenges,” he said.

 

CHUKA UROKO & JOSHUA BASSEY