The government of Lagos State has announced that a 38km, four-lane road bridge is to be built across the Lagos lagoon to ease congestion on crossings between Lagos Island and the rest of the city.
Work on the $2.7bn Fourth Mainland Bridge is expected to begin this year, once agreement has been reached with those Lagos residents whose homes will have to be demolished to make room for the scheme. It is estimated that between 800 and 3,000 dwellings, most of them in informal settlements, will be affected.
The project is to be procured as a build, operate and transfer model, although the length of the concession has not been decided.
Lagos Island lies to the west of the main city, and the three existing crossings provide a direct east-west link to it. The fourth bridge will be situated to the east of the island and will provide a north-south link between Baiyeku and Langbasa over the Lagos lagoon.
The bridge would be the longest in Africa
The bridge has been under discussion since 2003. A concept design for the project was produced by Nigerian architect and urban planner NLÃ‰. It has produced a concept design for a two-level bridge that would be part of a ring road around the city.
NLÃ‰ comments on its website: "The 2 level bridge will not only function as a means for vehicular traffic on its upper level, it will stimulate and accommodate pedestrian, social, commercial and cultural interactions on it’s lower level – ‘Lagos Life’ – with its tropical environment and intimate street level exchanges.
"The Fourth Mainland Bridge in conjunction with existing road networks would establish a primary ring road around Lagos. This ring road will provide alternative traffic routes from Lekki to Ikorodu, Ikeja to Ajah, relieving the Third Mainland bridge of its overstretched capacity."
NLÃ‰’s 2008 plan would relieve Lagos’ legendary congestion with a grand bypass
If the bridge is 38km long, it will be the longest in Africa. The present holder, the 6 October Bridge over the Nile in Cairo is 20.5km and Lagos’ Third Mainland Bridge in 10.5km long.
Image: NLÃ‰ Architect’s concept designs for the Fourth Mainland Bridge