Feb 27 , 2021

Three local companies secured contracts worth close to 1.1 billion Br to construct 17Km of asphalt and cobblestone roads at four locations in the city.

The Addis Abeba City Roads Authority signed contracts with Markan Trading, Tilahun Abebe Construction and Senan Construction early last week. Out of the road construction projects, the cost of which will be fully covered by the City Administration, 9.2Km of the total length will be asphalt road, while the remainder will be cobblestone. The roads will be completed within nine to 19 months.

One of these projects, covering just over 1.5Km in length with a width of 20m and stretching from Kotebe Kidanemihret to Kotebe Dehninet, was granted to Markan Trading. The contract is worth over 245 million Br, and the construction is expected to be completed in a year and a half. This road has a kilometre cost of 161.6 million Br.

The 324 million Br contract for the Beshale Condominium asphalt project, which covers a 3.6Km distance with a width of 20m, will be carried out by Tilahun Abebe Construction and is also expected to be finalised late next year. Tilahun Abebe will be paid 90.3 million Br for a kilometre.

The third project consists of internal pathways at three condominium sites, including Furi Hanna and Wotader Sefer, and is classified into two lots and awarded to two local companies. Tilahun Abebe Construction will be in charge of the construction of 6.2Km of cobblestone roads worth 253 million Br. Senan Construction will be in charge of the second lot covering 5.7Km, a third of which will be cobblestone. The project will cost the City Administration 285.5 million Br.

These latest contracts signed last week bring the total number of road projects to 18 so far this budget year, 16 of which are being handled by local contractors. The projects are expected to create job opportunities for up to 6,000 employees at permanent and temporary levels. These projects cover 102Km and are worth 8.4 billion Br.

For the current fiscal year, the City Administration allocated a 5.9-billion-Br budget for road construction. It has planned to build 146Km of roadway at condominium sites.

Furthermore, two contracts were granted to Wagwago Trading and Variety Electromechanical Engineering to enhance and modernise streetlighting in the city with a budget of 146.9 million Br. The streetlights are to be installed mainly in city squares and along roundabouts in areas like Mexico, Lagare and National Theater, among others.

The streetlights will be assembled in Meqelle, and most parts will be imported from China, according to Yared Tesfaye, CEO of Variety, who added that his company is playing a role in minimising foreign exchange loss by producing the lights domestically. He explained that the company would produce LED lights, which will cut down on power consumption and have the capacity to illuminate areas within a 50-60m radius.

"We have inventory stock at 10 locations, but three of them are in Tigray, and the rest are in Bahir Dar and Addis Abeba," said Yared.

During the agreement signing ceremony, Moges Tibebu, director-general of the Authority, urged utility companies to settle right-of-way issues as early as possible.

Using a wired grid for streetlights in a country that uses the motto "13 months of sunshine" should not be an option, remarked Eskinder Eshetu, an engineering consultant with over a decade of experience. The project might have considered using solar-powered streetlights, he said.

"This shows a lack of feasibility studies for the project," added Eskinder.

However, enhancing the old sodium vapour lights using LEDs is a wise choice, because the former are omnidirectional, meaning they produce light in 360 degrees, and are therefore inefficient, according to Eskinder. LED lights emit light at 180 degrees by default.

Besides, LEDs have a long lifespan, are energy-efficient and require little maintenance. The downside is that they are relatively expensive.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 27,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1087]

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