Expanding the Road Network from 2007 to 2008

Travel by road is the best and least expensive way to experience a country. Road infrastructure is also critical to commerce and economic development, particularly for landlocked countries like Ethiopia and this is one reason that Ethiopia increased its road network significantly over the past year.

The country’s first expressway was opened. The six-lane road was designed and built by the China Communications Construction Company with consults Beijing Expressway Supervision – a subsidiary of Beijing Enterprises Holdings Consultants. Twenty five per cent of the cost was covered by the government of Ethiopia and the remaining 350 million dollars obtained as a loan from the EX-IM Bank of China to be paid in 20 years. It links Adama with at least five major economic centers – Arsi, Bale, Harar, Shashemene and Addis and also with the Djibouti Port.  Some criticised the decision making process of determining the toll and cost for lack of public consultation.

Road construction and expansion were not without their share of conflict. The City Authority (AACRA) ordered the China Road & Bridge Corporation to finish a bridge above the tracks of the Light Railway Transit on the Debra Zeit Road before January 15, 2015. The 388m Br contract should have ended in July 2014 but two months past the deadline, CRBC had completed only 34pc of the project.

Ethiopian Road Construction Corporation exceeded its target, collecting 523.7 million Br of profit before tax in the last fiscal year and built 348Km of roads, which was 114pc of its plan. The issue just before that focused on the city, reporting that AA now enjoys a road network increased from 4,671Km to 5,365Km.

The long standing director general of the Ethiopian Road Authority left his position. The Prime Minister’s office removal of Zaid Woldergebriel was explained as being for reasons related to improper tenders leading to design problems and exaggerated construction cost.  He had served the Authority in the highest position since 2004.

The involvement of China in this sector is so strong that when the history of 21st Century road-building in Ethiopia is written, a chapter will be devoted to China.

Published on Sep 14,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 802]



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