Will the 4th Mainland Bridge solve the traffic problem in Lagos?

The completion of Lagos’ 11.8km long third Mainland bridge project which spanned between 1976 to 1990, was supposedly the answer to the connectivity problems that people faced in the city. At the time, there were minimal linkages between the Mainland part of the state and the rapidly growing Island zone. General Ibrahim Babangida, who was the then military president, foresaw the spike in population growth in Lagos and proposed the construction of the 4th Mainland bridge as incorporated in the Lagos State master plan.

According to the initial plan, construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge was intended to begin in 2017, 50 years after Lagos state was founded and 26 years after the completion of the Third Mainland Bridge project. Going by the proposed project timeline, the bridge was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2019. 5years after the proposed date, the Lagos state government has commissioned the project which is expected to kickstart this year 2023 with a 4 years project schedule. It is projected that this will impact the economy of the state and its residents in a number of ways. One of the first direct impacts will be an improvement in traffic. Beyond this, we are curious to find answers to whether and how it will impact the real estate market across the city, particularly in the affected regions. This is what we will be exploring in this article. Before we dive in, here are some interesting facts to note about the 4th mainland bridge.

1. The bridge will have a length of 38 kilometres spanning Langbasa (Ajah) corridor to Baiyekun (Ikorodu).

2. It is planned with 3 toll plazas and 9 interchanges

3. It routes 4.5 kilometres along the lagoon and will be an eco-friendly environment.

4. It consists of a 2 by 4 lane carriage cross-sectional road that provides for BRT, and regular vehicular traffic.

5. The project is awarded to CCECC-CRCCIG Consortium

6. The 4th Mainland bridge is expected to cost $2.2 trillion as of 2020; a 160% higher variation than the $844 billion estimated cost in 2017.

Now, let’s get back to our first questions. How does this 4th bridge answer the traffic problem in Lagos?

On average, it takes Lagosians between 3 hours and 6 hours to commute from Ikorodu to Ajah by road. Upon completion, the 4th mainland bridge has the capacity to reduce this travel time by almost 600% to about 30 minutes. This is significant and means that people who live in Ikorodu but have their offices in Victoria Garden City will have more time to invest in productive engagements than spend in traffic. The ripple effect of this will be a reduction in congestion on Lagos’ existing major roads and bridges like Carter, Eko and Third Mainland Bridges, and the Lekki-Epe Expressway and people commuting these roads will experience a reduction in travel time.

For the Lagos Mega City dream, we see that insufficient infrastructure relative to population, particularly the inadequacies of the transport networks has been a major bane hindering economic activities across the state. With a 38km span and a 4.5km lagoon coverage, the 4th Mainland bridge is anticipated to be the second-largest in Africa. The impact of this bridge on Lagos’ economy generally will be phenomenal. Upon completion, we expect to see much more robust connectivity across the city. But beyond road connectivity, what does this mean for the Lagos economy, and Lagos real estate market in general? The first noticeable impact will be an increase in the State’s Internally Generated Revenue.

Can Lagos expect a Year on Year increase in IGR similar to the past 22 years? 

Between 1990 and 2021, Lagos state reportedly recorded a 7,400% increase in Internally Generated Revenue. The states’ IGR has maintained a consistent upward trajectory since 1990 according to a statement by the State government. Lagos’ IGR multiplied by almost 50 within a 22 years period, from the ₦15 billion recorded in 1999 to ₦753 billion in 2021.

Outside the economic reforms that happened within the State, one key driver for the wealth created in the state has been the private sector. Businesses in the financial services, manufacturing and logistics sector have seen phenomenal growth within this period. Among many other factors, some of this growth can be attributed to the ease of connectivity made possible after the 3rd mainland bridge project in 1990. A repeat of this gain is expected with the 4th mainland bridge.

The 4th mainland bridge by our estimation will likely lead to an increase in Lagos’ IGR by over 20% in the next 2 decades. Lagos has enjoyed considerable success in key sectors of her economy, including financial services, manufacturing, logistics and hospitality. Comparing what is, to what can be, the opportunities for growth are still untapped. The manufacturing potential of the state is yet to be scratched. Demand for quality warehouses, especially from international players is very high but supply has been insufficient. One major factor that has hindered development in this area is the availability of land in easily accessible locations. Most parts of the city are built up. This makes it difficult for investors to access land in good locations for large-scale projects. The introduction of the 4th mainland bridge will help to ease this as investments can be made in fewer outer parts of the state with a good road access network to the commercial hubs. This development opens up the state to more business opportunities and revenue.

The bridge will further open new areas of the City for future development

Lagos metropolis is built up. Or at least, most parts of Lagos are now fully built up. As of today, it is almost impossible to put together 5,000 square meters of virgin plot of land. While this is the case for neighbourhoods like Ikoyi, Lekki Phase 1, Yaba, Surulere, Victoria Island or any other known area across Lagos, there are still opportunities on the outskirts of town. The problem, however, is that the lack of infrastructure and traffic-related problems have historically discouraged growth in such locations. With the 4th mainland bridge underway, we expect to see significant growth in other parts of the state, especially along the Lekki-Epe and Ikorodu corridor. In our next note, we will be discussing unpopular locations that have the most opportunity in Lagos and why you should consider investing in them. 

We will like to engage with you on how you think the 4th mainland bridge project will impact the economy of Lagos and the real estate market landscape. You can send us an email at research@buyletlive.com or join the conversation on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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