The project was delayed for almost 14 months due to demarcation issues

Apr 26 , 2019

Oromia Regional State will be inaugurating a 72Km gravel road built for 198 million Br in Western Hararghe Zone within a month.

Located 406Km from the capital, the road extends from Boke wereda to Burka Antu wereda, both in Western Hararghe Zone. The two areas are known for having ample resources of cattle, almonds and coffee.

The road was constructed by a local grade two construction firm and Oromia Roads Authority which covered the cost. The inauguration, which is expected to take place next month, will be attended by officials of the regional state. The road cost the regional state 2.6 million Br a kilometre. The two-way road has a width of six metres, along with 72 kilometres of open and closed drain ditches along with pedestrian walkways in urban approaches.

Ethio General Contractor, which previously constructed the road project around Gelan Condominium and is currently building a separate 94Km road in western Wollega, constructed the road in Hararghe. Nomy Engineering Plc, which had previously supervised the Asosa City road project and the universal rural road access programme of Oromia Regional State, supervised Ethio General during the construction.

The road will give market access to residents of the two weredas, according to Zelalem Boja, a contract engineer at Oromia Roads Authority, which is currently constructing 30 road projects that have a combined length of 1,114Km in the regional state.

"The old road used to take up to five hours and the people were spending 300 Br to 500 Br for transportation, as the road was very difficult for the transporters," said  Zelalem, "but the new road will cut the time to just an hour."

Started in 2013, the construction of the road, which opened 400 to 500 jobs, was delayed for almost 14 months. The project agreement was signed on August 1, 2013, with an initial delivery date of January 2018.

Issues related to demarcation was the major cause for the delay of the project, according to Amar Merkebu, project manager of the road for the contractor.

Abebe Dinku (Prof), a civil engineer and a university lecturer with over three decades of experience, says that a lack of proper planning is causing the delay of projects and cost overruns.

"To solve the issues," said Abebe, "the project owners have to award projects to the contractors once clearing all outstanding issues that can potentially cause delays."

Road coverage of the Oromia Regional State reached 53,007Km, including both asphalt and gravel roads, which is over a third of the national road coverage of the country that stood at 120,171Km at the end of the past fiscal year.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 991]

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