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Eko Atlantic – An ingenious Engineering Thing

LAGOS/NIGERIA, February 19, 2014 - An ultra futuristic city is being built on the shores of Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria.Under the project management of David Frame, the British lead engineer and Managing Director of South Energyx Nigeria Ltd., a subsidiary of Chagoury Group,  Eko Atlantic City is being constructed on 9 million square metres of reclaimed land from the sea and protruding 2.5 kilometres into the Atlantic Ocean.

the ultra futuristic city Eko Atlantic will be built on Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria

Eko Atlantic: Ultra futuristic city, being built on the shores of Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. | photo: Eko Atlantic

The Eko Atlantic project in Nigeria is one of the biggest ongoing civil engineering projects in the world. “An ingenious engineering thing” as Bill Clinton, former President of the United States called it at the 5 Million Square Metres Dedication Ceremony in Lagos early 2013.

Divided into 6 districts this new place on the world map will feature an array of 1200 high-rise buildings with an average of 35 floors. It includes a spectacular Business District spreading over an area of 700000 square metres,  with a six-lane carriageway for traffic and a 2 kilometre long and 60 metre wide tree lined central boulevard. Multi-storey parking will connect with buildings and a luxury class shopping mall by overhead walkways. A high-end waterfront area with a wide view across Lagos Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean. A modern ferry transfer terminal and a Marina District with an area of 1.154 500 square metres and additional 76.677 square metres of water surface. Acting as a viewing platform, an 18 metre wide promenade surrounds the Marina District and its multiple berths for boats. 

terraces development on Eko Atlantic in Lagos

Terraces development around the first ring of the marina.| photo: Eko Atlantic

On completion the 250 000 planned residents of Eko Atlantic as well as further 150 000 commuters will  be ensured steady access to essential utilities. Plans for 1000 mega watts reliable power supply, independent water distribution through the installation of modern boreholes and sewage treatment plans were revealed to Mr Alderman Michael Bear the Mayor of London and his entourage when they visited the site in 2011. Being impressed by the plans and advancement of the project Mr Bear expressed optimism that investors from England and other European countries would invest on this premier mega project in Africa.

The China Communications Construction Group, a global player on marine dredging started dredging work on the shores of Victoria Island as far back as 2008. 400 000 tonnes of sand were pumped unto the shores of Victoria Island per day. By March 2013 5 million square metres of land had been reclaimed from the sea.

acropode near Eko Atlantic in Lagos, Nigeria

While by summer 2013 half of the "Great Wall of Lagos" had been completed, altogether more than 100 000 accropodes will be put in place before full completion of this revetment in 2015. This formidable sea defence barrier is expected not only to protect Eko Atlantic but also Victoria Island of Lagos from the natural force of flood and coastal erosion.| photo: Eko Atlantic

Enormous quantities of giant concrete armoured blocks (accropodes) each weighing 5 tons are being placed into the sea and every day some five to eight metres of wall is advancing for the construction of the 8 kilometre long so called “Great Wall of Lagos”.  

In 2011 another significant stride forward was taken as the construction of the essential road network was started.

Key factors are said to be the driving force for this “smart city” designed to combine leisure facilities with business opportunities and social amenities.

But a lot of questions remain unanswered: Would it work? Can it solve the key problem that drives the demand for this prime development? Would it really be safe? Who is truly going to profit from this? Is this the first step to infrastructure change in Nigerian urban life? Can it reshape it? Or is this just the climax of miscalculation, mismanagement and megalomania?

A high-end waterfront area with a wide view across Lagos Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean from a satellite's view.| photo: Eko Atlantic

The African urban Population today counts 450 million people and is expected to triple  by 2050. Snapshots of Africa’s urban life creaking under the weight of the growing population make the need for change obvious. As part of the answer to this problem international property developers are presently building several new cities in African joint venture. From the 12 355 acre “ghost town” Kilambo City in Angola built at a cost of $3.5 billion and initially planed to accommodate 500000 people. To $14.5 billion Konzo Techno City in Kenya which is referred to as Africa’s Silicon Savannah and expected to be completed in 2025. Through to this multi billion luxurious Eko Atlantic City project created out of the sea on Victoria Island in Lagos Nigeria.

One may at first assume that the construction of Eko Atlantic is just the only project of its kind. Fortunately or unfortunately the creation of this new satellite city is not one of its kind. Being however the largest of its kind in Africa, the outcome of this massive project remains yet to be seen.