Awash Bridge Opens to Traffic

On Friday December 5, 2014 a new bridge over the Awash River along the Ethiopia-Djibouti road opened to traffic. The structure was wholly financed by the aid arm of the Japanese government.

The 145m bridge is located five kilometres from Awash town, in the Afar Regional State, 220Km south east of the capital. The bridge replaces an old bridge which was constructed 40 years ago. The new bridge is 9.5m wide and includes 935m of new road linking it to the main road at either end. It cost Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) 240 million Br, said Melaku Getachew, JICA is communication officer.

The bridge was constructed by Soto Kijol with the consultancy of Central Construction, both of which are Japanese firms undertaking their first projects in Ethiopia. Both the old and new bridges will remain in service, although the old bridge needs minor maintenance, Ethiopian Roads Agency (ERA) says.

“The request of the financing came from the government of Ethiopia and we raised the financing following the request, as the road is a main route of trade and investment for Ethiopia,’’ said Melaku.

There are 2,200 vehicles using the route daily, according to an ERA statement. The old bridge, with a carrying capacity of 36.6tns, allowed only one vehicle to cross at a time, whereas on the new bridge two can pass simultaneously. The new bridge has a carrying capacity for 40.8tns.

Construction began in March 2012, taking two years to complete, said ERA’s project engineer Tewdros Woldegiorgis, who oversaw the construction of the bridge.

“Now we are in the final stage, painting road lines. The project will be fully finalised by the start of January 2015,” said Tewdros.

Japan has previously financed the construction of the Renaissance Bridge over the Abay River at Dejen. This bridge was inaugurated in 2008 by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.


Published on December 14, 2014 [ Vol 15 ,No 763]



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