By Benjamin Omoike
Residents of the Victoria Island-Oniru axis came out on Wednesday to witness the official flag-off of the Victoria Island-Oniru axis road upgrading project by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The project, which is being executed through Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) arrangement, was conceived and conceptualised four months ago by Planet Projects at the instance of Access Bank Plc, the major partner.
The aim was to improve the traffic linkage and travel time around the highly commercial axis of Victoria Island. It is believed that traffic congestion being experienced within the project area reduces productivity and discourage growth of businesses.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Mrs Aramide Adeoye, in her opening remarks, said the project is significant in a number of ways because it involves private sector participation, stressing that the private sector is seen as a critical partner in the growth and development of the economy Lagos State.
Araoye said the private sector, which controls about eighty percent of the State’s Gross Domestic product is crucial in the government’s drive to bridging the infrastructure gap and to also build the smart city of our dream.
She said: “Access Bank has keyed into one of the ways to realize the state’s objective of making Lagos a 21st century economy by partnering with the State Government in Infrastructural upgrading of Oniru Network of roads under a Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) arrangement.”
While flagging off the project, Sanwo-Olu said the partnership was another “deliberate action” to solve traffic congestion and relieve Lagos residents of pain.
He said: “This flag-off is another milestone we have achieved through partnership with the private sector to deliver projects that will directly impact lives.
“We came to this area about 4 months ago at a presentation at Four Points and we told our partners that immediately the rain subsides, we would come back and start with the development of the Oniru into Victoria Island from Lekki.
“I’m happy that within the short time frame, a lot of work has been done. We are here being the 3rd of December, and, with the stoppage of the rains, work can now start immediately.
“For me, my colleagues and our partners, it is a strong point that we deliver on our commitments. I want to assure you that we will deliver all the commitments we’ve made. So, I’m happy that we can tell everybody in this corridor that we are back here. Work will start in earnest.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that the flag off of the project is a validation of his administration’s commitment to regenerate, upgrade and develop the entire Victoria Island and Oniru axis. He appealed to the residents to cooperate with the contractors, saying the project construction might come with some pains but assured that the citizens would reap the full benefits of it in a matter of months.
The Governor said the project will be completed in six months.
He also praised Access Bank for supporting the government to regenerate the Oniru-Victoria Island-Lekki circulation and bringing good traffic modulation and flow to the axis.
Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Hubert Wigwe, said the financial institution entered into the partnership to promote socio-economic growth of the State and enhance residents’ productivity.
Wigwe, who was represented by the Executive Director, Mr. Victor Etoko, said the Bank remained committed to help Lagos Government delivering infrastructure that will be economically sustainable.
Giving details of the construction work, Planet Projects Managing Director, Mr. Biodun Otunola, said the project would lead to the construction of Alaba Oniru Road, Akingbolagbe Road to Muri Okunola Roundabout. He added there would be regeneration of seven junctions prone to traffic on the axis.
Otunola estimated the total length of the construction work to be 1.8 kilometres, stressing that the construction would be purely concrete to ensure durability. He added that the materials to be used would be sourced locally.
He listed road improvement, junction improvement work, traffic system management measures and classification of roads as 1-way street as part of the proposed solutions in the project.