One significant area through which Lagos State government has impacted on the lives of its people is in infrastructure provision, notably roads and bridges.
In the last eight to 10 years, the state has constructed a good number of roads and built a few bridges where it sees compelling need to do so, and in either or both cases, the aim has always been to empower the people and enhance business activities.
The history of bridge building in the state dates back to 1901, when Governor Gilbert Thomas Carter built the first bridge called Carter Bridge, linking the two Lagos Island to Iddo. This was followed by Eko Bridge, built during the Yakubu Gowon regime, linking Lagos Island to the Mainland, notably Surulere.
Since then, a lot of other bridges have been built by various governments in the state, culminating in the building and delivery of the first cable-stayed bridge in West Africa called Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.
The bridge, conceived in 2008, is a 1.357-metre long, four-lane infrastructure comprising the approach bridge on the Lekki side and a 635-metre long cable-stayed bridge called the main bridge.
In his welcome address at the commissioning and handing over of the bridge last week Wednesday, Obafemi Hamzat, the state commissioner for works and infrastructure, noted that the inauguration of Nigeria and West Africa’s first cable-stayed bridge was a testament to the sagacity of an administration determined to build tomorrow’s infrastructure today.
“This is a continuation of this administration’s commitment to provide qualitative infrastructure that is functionally creative and reflective of the vision driving development in this state, which is Nigeria’s economic and socio-cultural nerve centre. It is the hallmark of a commitment to the welfare and socio-economic well-being of our people,” he said.
Hamzat revealed that the building of the bridge created 700 new jobs, ranging from engineers to welders, drivers and labourers, adding that 149 skill acquisition participants, 40 holiday jobbers, 20 interns, and eight youth corps members were also involved.
Babatunde Fashola, the state governor, in his speech, described the bridge as an iconic legacy of intricate and complex engineering design, noting that it would significantly impact on travel time in a manner that would enhance business.
“If you take a trip from the foot of the bridge where it opens to Alexander Road in Ikoyi, you would have travelled 5.8km approximately, and it will take you about 23 minutes. But if you cross this bridge, you will be travelling 1.3km, you will do it in three minutes, saving 20 minutes of your time,” he said.
The governor noted that his administration’s primary objective with projects like Okota-Itire Link Bridge, Maidan Agiliti, Ajao-Ejigbo and the planned fourth mainland bridge was to provide a transport infrastructure and a strategic transport management solution aimed at easing traffic congestion, empowering the people and promoting commerce.