The Lagos State Government has said that ahead of the commencement of operations by the Dangote Refinery in July, the state government is considering water transportation to cushion the effect of traffic in the area.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Abdulhafiz Toriola, made this known in an interview with our correspondent.
He stated that all hands would be on deck to ensure that traffic along the Lekki-Epe Expressway leading to the Lekki Free Trade Zone was adequately managed.
He said, “The Dangote refinery, Lekki Deep Sea Port, and others will commence operations in July. We have surveyed the area and we envisage the traffic that such business activities will cause considering that there is only one road leading to that place.
“So, we are working with the Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos State Waterways Authority, and Deep Sea Port to explore the waterways by using a barge to transport goods, containers, and even petroleum, from the port to other mini-ports across the country so that the volume of trucks on the road will be less while waiting for the rail construction and other proposed roads to be completed.”
He said the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was interested in easing traffic along the axis because “we have to consider the people living in those areas, if not, with the amount of trade within that particular axis, it will be worse than Apapa.
He added, “We are working with all the stakeholders, including the local governments, communities, and traditional rulers, to ensure we achieve the objective of easing the traffic around that axis.”
The permanent secretary assured that although tankers would increase along the route, plans were being put in place to ensure that no tanker would park along the road, adding that designated parks that would house trucks dedicated solely to businesses in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, were underway ahead of July.
He added that the tankers would be free to access the Free Trade Zone either through Ajah or Epe, saying they would not be restricted but promised that they would not become a menace.
He said the Lagos State Transport Management Agency and other law enforcement agencies would be working together to enforce the plans of the government.
Toriola added, “The government is working to expand the Lekki-Epe Expressway into a dual carriageway of four lanes.
“The expansion would have gone a long way before the commencement of operations in July and the contractors have been given a timeframe. That is why we are also exploiting the waterways to further cushion the effect.”