The Ethiopian Road Authority (ERA) last week inaugurated three completed roads in Oromia State and laid a cornerstone for two new road projects at a total cost of 10 billion Br.
In the year, 2014/2015, road network reached 110,444km with 12.3pc asphalt concrete, an expansion by 10.9pc from the previous year.
Roads now coming into operation are the 188km stretch at Meqenejo-Dembidolo, the 3.5km Neqemte town, and the 95.6km Neqemte-Bedele roads. The longest road, 257km Neqemte-Bure, as well as the 60.2km Shambu-Bako road will see the cornerstones for their construction laid by high government officials, this week.
Neqemte-Bure road which is the longest of all roads set to be built within three years will connect Oromia and Amhara region.
The areas that lie along the areas where the road touches are potential sources of coffee and minerals including gold and have a high potential for trade investment activities. The road has an impact on the socio-economic development of the areas providing relief from inadequate transportation facilities needed to reach markets. The Addis Abeba-Dembidolo asphalt road which cost 1.9 billion Br shortened travel time from eight hours to a six hours and 20 minutes drive.
The feasibility study for the Meqenjo-Dembidolo has been in the loop for the last 13 years,and at last completed by 2009.
Of the completed roads, the Neqemte alternate road is the most costly having taken 39.6 million Br per kilometre. This relatively short road completed by the Ethiopian Roads Construction Corporation cost a total of 138.7 million Br fully secured from the government. Transport Construction Design S.C, consulted the project.
“The road includes sidewalks of 2.5m on both sides inflating the project cost,” said Samson Wondimu, the Authority’s public relations head.
The road has a twin with one-metre distance in between, each with a width of 2.5 metres.
Financing to the tune of 639 million Br was fully secured from the World Bank for the longest Meqenejo-Dembidolo road had three contract divisions with widths of 14m in towns and seven metres in its portions that lie in the urban areas.
Previous gravel roads, 52.06km Meqenejo-Ayira, 70km Ayira-Chinqa and 65.05 Chanqa-Demidolo were the three road segments that cost 12 million Br, 10 million Br and 11 million Br per kilometre, respectively, make up the Meqenejo-Dembidolo road project that was completed in the scheduled three years period.
Located in the West Wollega Zone of Oromia State, mainly mountainous and rolling lands, the Meqenejo-Dembidolo forms connect eight weredas of the zone namely, Ayira, Guliso, Gawo Dale, Gimbi, Hawa Walel, Lalo Assabi, Seyo, Dale Sedi and Yubdo. China Highway Group Limited, a Chinese construction company won the construction award and completed the road with consultation provided by Raften and Beza Consulting companies.
The Neqemte-Bedele road, the second road which consumed 10million Br per kilometre was from Meqenejo-Dembidolo road in terms of both distance and cost. The one billion Birr road, 19m wide in urban areas and 10m wide in its rural section, was constructed by CGC Overseas Construction, a Chinese construction firm in which Ethiopian Beza Consulting Engineers and Kenya Beza Consulting Engineers combined did the consulting work. Previously a bumpy gravel road, it has been upgraded to asphalt concrete by funds secured from the government, the Arab Bank, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) and the Kuwait Fund.
Completion of the road has economic advantages for people living in the areas as they now have better market access for their agricultural products including fruits and vegetables, tea and coffee. The road also passes by an 80,000ha sugarcane plantation that makes the transportation of sugarcane to the Argo-Dedesa sugar factory and other sugar factories easier.
The road is part of Neqemte-Bedelle–Mettu upgrading project.
The existing road was originally paved about 20 years ago, but its entire length has now deteriorated considerably. The road traverses areas having significant natural resources, and intensive cultivation of, among others, coffee and cereals. The project road provides a key link in the route from Addis Abeba to Gambela via Neqemte, and is 30km shorter than the Addis Ababa-Neqemte-Gimbi-Gambela route.
On average, the inaugurated roads cost 16.6 million Br per kilometre while the estimated cost per kilometre of the roads on which construction is about to begin is 20.8 million Br.
It is in the same week of June 25th ERA set to begin construction of two new roads.
The World Bank funded 5.7 billion Br Neqemte-Bure road, which links Neqemte in Oromia and Bure in Amhara the north-western part of Ethiopia was previously a gravel road, which according to ERA, will be upgraded to asphalt concrete taking into consideration increasing traffic flows. The 86.1km Neqemte-Gutin-Andode road, the 87.65m Andode-Agamsa road and 84.5km Agamsa-Bure road cost 21.4 million Br, 20.8 million Br, 24.6 million Br per km, respectively are three segments of the road set to be constructed by the Spanish IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd. and Indian Elsa Mex S.A. Construction, two international companies. The Agamsa-Bure segment of the larger Neqemte-Bure road is the most expensive road while the Shambu-Bako segment had the lowest cost.
The contract for completing the Neqemte-Bure road is eight years, three years for construction and five years for maintenance and administration. A consulting firm has not yet been selected. The road will be 12m wide in wereda towns and 21.5m at zonal towns.
Close to one billion Br has been allocated for the Shambu-Bako road which cost 6.4 million Br per kilometre. The project which was awarded to CGC Overseas Construction is designed to have 10 new bridges and 127 outlets at a width of 19m in urban areas and 10m in its rural section. It is scheduled to be completed within three years. Along with the government, the Arab Bank and Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries(OPEC) funded the project.
The road connects Bako and Shambu towns in West Wollega Zone of Oromia State known for an abundance of agricultural products including sesame, needing to be transported to the Zone’s capital, Neqemte town. Upon completion, the road will also facilitate transportation of sugar products from Fincha Sugar Factory to markets.
The government, which planned to attain a road density of 200km per 1,000km by 2020, had at the end of 2014/15 a 109km road density per 1,000km from the previous year’s 90.5km, which fell short of the 123.7km target set by the first Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP I) which ended the same year.
The Authority, this year, awarded a 32 billion Br worth 30 road projects. The annual government investment was 37.2 billion Br, showing an annual decline of 1.4 billion Br and the plan is to invest 257 billion Br in the second Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II). [Addis Fortune]