A local consultant has bagged a multimillion Birr contract to supervise works rehabilitating the Kebena River from Mount Entoto to the German Embassy.

At-Con Engineering & Architectural Consultancy won the 13 million Br contract three months after the Urban Beautification & Green Development Bureau floated a tender under the supervision of Tsigereda Worku. She was appointed to head the Bureau last October when Adanech Abiebie, mayor of Addis Abeba, formed a new cabinet.

Ten companies had submitted expressions of interest to supervise the two-year rehabilitation work to be carried out on a 5.4Km riverside with an outlay of five million euros. The financing was a grant the Italian government made to the Addis Abeba City Administration a year ago. It will be disbursed in three phases with five percent of the finance already made.

The Bureau shortlisted five companies before selecting At-Con two weeks ago.

Incorporated in 2010, At-Con supervised over 30 projects, mostly renovation of green areas. Three years ago, the company supervised the renovation works in the 16,000sqm Akaki Park. It was also involved in the restoration of Ambassador Park, which was completed in 2019 at the cost of 42 million Br. Both are among the 15 parks in the capital open to the public.

“We'd be happier if we could handle the design work, too,” said Awet Gebreyesus, deputy manager of the company.

The Bureau, however, plans to follow the design and build contract approach. It has floated an international tender for the design, and four firms are vying to secure the job.

The authorities hope to secure financing for rehabilitation works on the remaining Kebena River, which joins the Beseka River in the southeast of the capital. It is estimated to cost 10 million dollars, which city officials hope to receive from the Korea International Cooperation Agency.

The facelift of the Kebena River is part of the Beautifying Sheger Project. It comprises the rehabilitation and treatment of 54Km of riverbanks along the capital's two main waterways, which have been occupied by informal settlements and economic activities. People close to the project disclosed to Fortune that homes and other structures within a 20-meter radius of the riverside would be relocated. Authorities say the parameters will be determined after the design work is completed.

"It's expected to be finalised in the next seven months,” said Tages Gebrekristos, project manager.

Riversides are vulnerable to landslides, especially during and following heavy rainfall, says Tulu Tola (PhD), assistant professor of environmental science at Kotebe Metropolitan University. The expert advises drawing a resettlement action plan before commencing the project.

Officials launched the project in 2018 hoping to permanently alter the natural ecosystem and transform the city into a popular destination for urban tourists.

Laying on a 27hct land along a 1.2Km segment of Banteyiketu River,  Friendship Park, which was opened a year ago, is another feature included in the Beautifying Sheger Project. The Park was constructed by First Highway, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Construction Company, at the cost of 50 million dollars.

Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian Construction Group, another Chinese firm, started the second phase of the Beautifying Sheger project in August last year. It includes the construction of a museum dedicated to science and technology on 18hct of land adjacent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters on Menelik II Avenue. The contractor is expected to wrap up the project this year.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 18,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1155]

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