AFC, Access Bank, JPMorgan to finance 4th Mainland Bridge

A consortium of investors on Wednesday including the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Access Bank and JPMorgan signed to commit about N844 billion as the initial cost of the construction of the long awaited 4th Mainland Bridge, under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Financial Watch Ngr reports that the cost components of the expressway cum bridge as presented by Gerard Horgan of Advanced Engineering Consultants, include a 10-year follow up programme for “structural pavement” repair N5 billion; cost of refurbishment before handing over back to Lagos State government in 2061, N10 billion; five-year refresh programme of work along the route between 2030 rand 2061, N19 billion; and annual operating cost, 2021 to 2061 of N20 billion.

Under the PPP arrangement, the investors are expected to commence and complete the construction of the bridge between 2016 and 2021, and then manage and operate it from 2021 to 2061, a period of 40 years, everything being equal.

The consortium consists Visible Assets Limited, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Access Bank, Hi-tech Construction, JP Morgan, Eldorado Nigeria Limited and Julius Berger Plc. They would be expected to build and operate the bridge over a period of 40 years before handing it back to the government of Lagos under enabling legal frameworks agreeable to the parties.

The dual carriage expressway/bridge comprising three lanes and two meters’ hard shoulder on each side proposed to be completed within three to five years, will be another major breakthrough in infrastructural development in Lagos, and speaks to the possibility that can be attained with PPP in driving development, especially at the time governments in Nigeria face shrinking oil revenues.

The bridge whose idea was mooted about 14 years, when delivered, would help to redistribute traffic within the Lagos metropolis, such that existing facilities such as Eko Bridge, Carter Bridge and 3rd Mainland Bridge would be greatly relieved of traffic burden.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties, at Lagos House, yesterday, said the increase in the population of Lagos had made the construction of the bridge more compelling.

“Almost thirty years after the delivery of the 3rd Mainland Bridge; the state has experienced phenomenal growth to become a megalopolis – a city-state with a population of over 21 million people. The increase in the state’s population and expanded commercial activity has led to frequent traffic congestion. This has made it imperative for us to have a 4th Mainland Bridge that will serve as an alternative route to the eastern axis and decongest traffic in the state.

“The significance of this bridge will be fully appreciated if we can imagine Lagos of today without the 3rd Mainland Bridge,” said Ambode.

He added that willingness of the private sector to partner the state on the bridge is a major testimony to the confidence they have in “our administration and the Nigerian economy in general.”

“We have learnt our lessons and we are confident that this project will be delivered on a win-win framework for all investors. This is so because this is the first time in the history of the state that we are embarking on the construction of a long-span bridge and expressway without federal funding and also having a project to be funded solely by the private sector.

“I am delighted that this project which has been on the drawing board for quite some time is now set to become a reality. This again, is the continuity with improvement which we promised Lagosians,” the governor said.

Ganiyu Johnson, the state commissioner for works and infrastructure, provided details on the bridge alignment. According to Johnson, the new alignment was chosen after several others considered in the past were dropped because of the impact they could have had on properties, with high compensation costs to the government.

He explained that the new alignment would pass through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeiku towns along the shoreline of the Lagos lagoon estuaries. It will further run through Igbogbo River basin and crossing the Lagos lagoon estuaries to Itamaga area in Ikorodu, crossing the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu-Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at Ojodu Berger axis.

Idowu Iluyomade of Visible Assets Limited, who spoke on behalf of other partners, said the bridge would be made up of 8 interchanges to facilitate effective interconnectivity between different parts of the state, with a generous median to allow for both future carriageway expansion and light rail facility. He assured that the project would be delivered within the timeframe.

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