A map of the Merkato Area Transport & Traffic Improvement Project covers a 1.1 square kilometre area. The project is supposed to solve the problem of traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety.

A consortium of three companies sealed a 126.9-million-Br deal to develop a comprehensive transport and traffic management plan for Merkato.

Two German companies and one local firm initiated the study to design and implement the traffic plan last month under a contract awarded by the Addis Abeba City Roads Authority. The project, which aims to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance the safety of pedestrians, is financed by the World Bank Group.

Gauff Ingenieure and PB Consult, which have been engaged in road infrastructure design and construction for more than two decades, are the two German companies involved in the project. Alert Engineering Plc, a seven-year-old consulting firm that works on road and bridge construction, as well as transport and traffic management activities in the capital, is the local partner.

The three companies will engage in concept development, detailed engineering design work and prepare a tender document for the implementation of the project in the coming eight months. The companies will also supervise the project during two years of implementation.

A map of the Merkato Area Transport & Traffic Improvement Project covers a 1.1 square kilometre area. The project is supposed to solve the problem of traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety.

The project covers 1.1-square-kilometre area and encompasses the area between Fitawrari Habte Giorgis Street in the north, Central African Republic Street and Dejazmach Mekonen Demisew Street in the west, Uganda Street in the south and Tesema Aba Kemaw Street in the east, following the Addis Light Rail route.

The project is set to improve pedestrian and vehicular mobility and expand parking provision and public transport, according to Moges Tibebu, director general of the Addis Abeba City Roads Authority, owner of the project.

Walking is the main mode of mobility in the capital and accounts for an estimated 70pc of trips, followed by public transport at 26pc and private motorised transport at four percent.

Even though the proportion of pedestrian deaths has dropped from 82pc to 76pc in the past year, pedestrians still make up the overwhelming majority of fatalities, according to the 2018 report by Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety.

The City Road Transport Bureau is implementing the project, while the city’s Traffic Agency is the beneficiary.

"The project will be implemented in line with the city's master plan on using limited space efficiently," said Behailu G. Eyesus, head of the Transport System Improvement Program Implementation Unit at the Addis Abeba Road Transport Bureau.

"The design will solve the traffic congestion of the area," Behailu told Fortune.

Merkato, which literally mean "marketplace" in Italian, is the largest open market in the country and is known for having overwhelming business and traffic activity in the city. The latest data from the Addis Ketema district shows that the district where the marketplace is located has a  population of 271,644.

A transport management lecturer thinks that the design by itself cannot solve the problem.

"To alleviate the congestion, additional remedies are needed," Berhanu Zeleke (PhD), who has worked at Kotebe Metropolitan University's Department of Urban Transport Management for over two decades, said. "Constructing overpass bridges and cable cars can be options."

A month ago the City Road & Transport Bureau already started the design of an Intelligent Transport System Master Plan, an integrated program for traffic management and pedestrian safety, with 600 million Br in financing from the World Bank.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 989]

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