Habtamu Tegegne, head of the ERA and Yonas Zewedie head of ECWC signing the contractual agreement.

Three local and one Chinese company won contracts for the construction of four road projects with a length of 169Km, worth 4.8 billion Br.

Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) awarded the contractors on February 20, 2020, in a ceremony held at its premises. The total cost of the projects will be covered by the government. The projects are Qoshe-Mito-Worabe, Gambella-Abobo-Dima lot two, Gishen Spur and Gonji-Kolela, which will require 18 to 36 months to complete.

The first road, Qoshe-Mito-Werabe has a length of 72.9Km with a width of 10m in rural areas, 21m in weredas and 22.5m in zonal districts. It will also have small and large sewage pipes and culverts. YENCOMAD Construction, which constructed the 64.5Km Modjo to Arerti road, among other projects, was contracted for the project for 1.8 billion Br. It is expected to complete the road within 36 months.

The second phase of Gambella-Abobo-Dima lot two road project has a total length of 72Km with a width of 10m in rural, 21m in woredas and 22.5m in zonal districts. China Railway Seventh Group is awarded to the project for 1.3 billion Br and is expected to deliver it in three years.

The Gishen Spur road includes 14Km of the main road, 1.6Km of connecting roads and 1.8Km of spur roads, as well as four parking lots, which have an area of 131,000Sqm. The road has a width of 12.5m to 18m including parking spaces and pavements. Ethiopian Construction Works Corporation, a local state-owned contractor, has won the bid for 1.3 billion Br. The project will take two and a half years to complete.

The Gonji-Kolela road has a total length of 10.7Km with a width of 10m in rural parts and 21.5m in woredas. The road will have small and large sewage pipes and culverts. Amhara Road Works Enterprise has won the project at a cost of 333 million Br and is expected to complete the road in 18 months.

During the agreement, Habtamu Tegegne, director-general of the Authority stated that the signing of the contracts is only the first chapter and there are a lot of things the contractors need to do in order to deliver the projects with the proper quality and on time.

"It is just the start for the ending," he said. "The project opening is not an outcome."

The Authority, which has completed 40 projects in the last two years, is currently administrating 153 projects with a total cost of 190 billion Br.

Fikadu Gurmessa (PhD), a transport geography lecturer at Addis Abeba University for more than a decade, believes that new roads are being constructed based on principle, to fulfill the obvious and latent needs of the country.

When roads are constructed there should be a clear justification as to why, by whom and how they are built, says Fikadu.

“Awarding these projects to local contractors is a good measure," said Fikadu cautioning the government to have a strong follow-up and inspection plan on such investments since the sector is exposed to corruption. "every activity on road projects should be directed through a master plan," she says.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 22,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1034]

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