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LASG dithers on preferred bidders for 4th Mainland bridge

It appears the Lagos State Government is struggling to secure investors’ buy-in for the development of the much anticipated 4th Mainland Bridge, as the government has failed to name the preferred bidder for the project contrary to its promise to do so by June 2018 which has just ended.

The state had assured in April this year that it would unveil the preferred bidder for the multi-billion naira project after it went back to the drawing board following the termination of the contract it entered into with a consortium of investors to develop the infrastructure on Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Specifically, Adebowale Akinsanya, the commissioner for works and infrastructure while briefing State-House correspondents on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, on the activities of his ministry, said, “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”.

In the wake of the commissioner’s assurance, expectation was rife, and when the government failed to make any pronouncement in May, residents then waited anxiously for June. But it all seems the government is yet to secure new investors in the development of the all-important infrastructure.

Akinsanya, the commissioner for works and infrastructure did take calls place to his phone or respond to text message requesting him to give updates on negotiations with would-be investors who submitted bids for the project.

The bridge under the previous contract canceled 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 state government has been sourcing for new investor after it couldn’t swim along with those it signed contract to build the 36km bridge and its road component.

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 interconnectivity between different parts of Lagos.

Credit: BusinessDay

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