After it failed to name the preferred bidder for the much-anticipated Fourth Mainland Bridge in June, as earlier announced, the Lagos State government is now tinkering with the idea of engaging multiple contractors for the multi-billion-naira project.
The state, however, remains uncertain on commencement of work on the all-important infrastructure, but maintains that it was working to ensure the project becomes a reality.
Adebowale Akinsanya, commissioner for works and infrastructure, told BusinessDay on Tuesday that the government was reviewing the strategy for the construction of bridge, as it had resolved to divide the 36 kilometres bridge into three or more lots to be handled by different interested partners, still on Public Private Sector (PPP) arrangement.
“The project will no longer be handled by one contractor. We are considering three or even more. One is a Chinese firm, and we are working on others. It is the same strategy we have deployed for the Lagos-Badagry Expressway,” Akinsanya said.
The state government has been struggling to secure investors’ buy-in for the development of the bridge since it cancelled the earlier agreement it signed with a consortium of investors in May 2016.
On April 18, this year, the government announced it would unveil the new preferred bidder for the project in May or June, but it failed to do in what indicated it was yet to close a new deal with any interested partner to build the bridge.
“We have received a number of proposals for the project. As I speak, we’re at the last phase of selecting the preferred bidder. I believe this would be announced to the public by either May or June,” Akinsanya said in April 2018.
The bridge under the previous contract cancelled by the government in May 2017, was to cost a consortium of investors about N844 billion.
Government had cited undue delay on the part of the investors in the commencement of work on the project, in what was said to be related to funding. The investors included Visible Asset Limited, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Hi-tech Construction Limited, J.P. Morgan, Eldorado Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Westminster Dredging and Marine, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and Access Bank. The government had cited delay in the commencement of work by the investors as reason for the termination of the contract.
The 4th Mainland Bridge was conceived by the administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu (1999 and 2007) but was unable to implement it. His successor, Babatunde Fashola (2007 to 2015), however, drew up the first alignment/design but could not push through.
The first breakthrough for the infrastructure was in May, 2016 when Governor Akinwunmi Ambode signed a PPP agreement with a consortium of investors to fund the construction of the bridge at the cost of N844 billion.
The investors were to Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) the infrastructure back to the state government after 40 years of recouping their investment. However, one year after the agreement, the government terminated it in May 2017.
The bridge/road infrastructure proposed as one of the longest in the world, will connect traffic between Lagos Island and Mainland. It is going to be fourth of such bridges, and would complement the existing Eko, Carter and Third Mainland bridges, which are under pressure due to heavy traffic.
The alignment is designed to pass through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeiku 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 would further cross through the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu -Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos Ibadan Expressway at Ojodu Berger axis.
The four-lane dual carriageway bridge is designed to have eight interchanges to facilitate effective inter connectivity between different parts of Lagos.
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