A long delayed section of the Trans-African Highway project, a 60Km road from Chucoo to Yirgachefe in the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples Regional State, has been awarded to a Chinese company, after the contract with the initial company was terminated last year.
The Chucoo-Yirgachefe road project was awarded to China Railway No.3 Engineering Group Co.Ltd. The road is part of the Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis road, and the Cape to Cairo Trans-African Highway. The financing for the project will come from the AfDB; it will cost 14.8 million Br per kilometre.
The project had previously been awarded to a company called Hawk International, a Yemen-based company. However, the contract was cancelled due to extensive delays in completion.
“After three years of working on the project, the company only completed 30pc of the project,” said Samson Wondimu, communication head of ERA.
The new completion date is estimated to be two years. The completion of the road will facilitate access to the Lamu port in Kenya, as well as trade linkages with countries east and south of Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) also signed six other contracts in conjunction with the Chucoo-Yirgachefe road. In total the seven projects are worth seven billion Birr and are located in three regional states. Six companies were awarded the construction and upgrade works of the road projects, which cover a total of 469Km.
Two local companies, Gemshu Beyene Construction Plc, and Sunshine Construction Plc secured two projects worth 2.58 billion Br. The remaining projects were given to four Chinese companies. The funding for the six projects will come from the government.
The road extending from Daye-Chiri-Nansebo, was awarded to the Chinese firm China WU YI Co. Ltd., which is going to construct a 73.5Km road. The road is located in the southern part of the country and connects the SNNP region with Oromia Regional State. With a cost of 22.9 million Br per kilometre, the road is 10 metres wide. It is expected to be completed within three years. Out of the seven projects awarded, the Dayye-Chirii-Nansebo road is the most expensive, costing 22.9 million Br per kilometre. This is ten times lower than the most expensive road in Ethiopia which is the Qality -Tulu Dimtu Road project.
“The volume of work, and the topographic context of the area are the major reason for the high cost of the road,” said Samson Wendimu, communication director of the Authority.
China WU YI is currently undertaking a 1.4 billion Br Afdera-Eirebti road project, which is connected to the active basaltic shield volcano, Erta Ale.
The road from Degolo to Kelela in the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples Regional State covers 71.58Km and was awarded to Sunshine Construction with a cost of 18.16 million Br per kilometre. The road will facilitate various commodities trade between Dessie, South Wollo, Kelela, and SNNPR.
Sunshine has constructed 10 road projects in the country including Ankober to Dolecha 40Km road project in Northern Ethiopia; Bambasi to Tongo, 70Km in Benshangul; and Butajira to Gubre, 82Km two hours south-west of Addis Abeba.
Gemshu Beyene Construction, another local firm secured the contract of a 1.28 million Br road stretching from Alem Ketema to Gigolo in Amhara Regional State. The 85Km long road will cost 15 million Br per kilometre and will be completed in three years.
Two months ago, Gemshu was awarded the contract for the Ginchi-Cochise road in Oromia regional state at a cost of 14.3 million Br. Founded 14 years ago, Gemshu has constructed various roads, such as Harer –Jigjiga (20Km) and Dire Dawa –Dewel (195Km).
The Jigjiga-Gelelsh-Degehamedo-Segeg road, which is located in Somali Regional State,was awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC); the contract is worth 1.06 billion Br. The Chinese Firm will hand over the 55.4Km road in three and a half years. It will cost 19.2 million Br per kilometre. CCCC, is currently undertaking a 2.4 billion Br Qality -Tulu Dimtu road project, the most expensive road in Ethiopia so far.
The 65.5 Km Menebegna-Fincha-Shambu-Bako road in Oromia Regional State was awarded to another Chinese firm, CGCOC Group Co. Ltd. The project will cost just a million Birr per kilometre; a total cost of 15.3 million Br. CGC Overseas Construction Group(CGCOC), founded in 1983, has been operating in Ethiopia since 2003. The company worked on more than 13 road projects in the country.
The Muketuri- Alem Town road, located in Oromia and Amhara regional states, covers 58Km and will cost 13.2 million Br per km. The project was awarded to China Railway No.3 Engineering Group Co. Ltd and is expected to be completed within two years.
The road projects will create job opportunities for 3,500 people and have a project period of two to three and a half years.
In addition to creating job opportunities for the youth in the area, the roads will have several benefits to the country after their completion, according to Araya Girmay, director general of the Authority.
“The roads will play significant roles in transporting raw materials to the factories in the area, will interconnect regions, and aggravate the urbanisation of the regions,” Araya said.
This year alone, including these new projects, the Authority has awarded 25 road projects worth 21.7 billion Br. Currently, Ethiopia has a road network of 110,414Km and targets to reach 220,000Km road coverage by 2020.
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