The construction of an express toll road from Addis to Adama which began in 2010 is expected to be completed six months ahead of its schedule.
The Addis Abeba City Road Authority(AACRA) has selected a private local firm for the job of developing preliminary designs for the construction of three roads to be connected to the Addis-Adama toll road under construction.
(AACRA) has given the job to Core Consulting & Engineering Plc last month. It expects the firm to develop the designs in two months for the constructions of roads from Yerer and Lebu sides to the road as well as the upgrading of the existing DebreZeit Road, sources at the Addis Abebe City Roads Authority (AACRA) disclosed to Fortune.
When completed, these roads are deemed crucial to ease the traffic flow that is expected from the nation's first express toll route, a.k.a toll road, expected to be completed in 2014.
A toll road could be constructed with a private or public financing. But drivers are required to pay certain amount of fees (tolls) to pay back the construction cost, without governments raising taxes on non-users.
The construction of Addis-Adama toll road began in 2010, after the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi cut the ribbon as a symbolic gesture to launch the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), which envisions in increasing the nation's tarmac road network to 64,000Km by 2015.
The 80Km road from Addis to Adama, designed to have eight lanes and projected to cost six billion Birr, is now well under construction by the China Communications Construction Corporation (CCCC), in three segments. Each segment will have tollgate in a 17Km interval, where a future operational agency will deploy employees to collect fees.
On Wednesday, trucks were moving earth work at the site near customs checkpoint at Akaki. Few kilometers inside to the entrance of the toll way, two kilometers of road remain uncovered with asphalt, while five kilometers farther is fully tarmac.
Such are the flow of work all the way to Adama, Zaid Woldegebrial, directors general of the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA), estimates nearly 50pc of the construction is completed. However, other sources in ERA bring the volume of work so far accomplished down to 43pc.
With the pace of construction currently undertaken by the Chinese company, senior managers at ERA may contemplate to open the segment from Addis to Bishoftu (DebreZeit) for traffic in few months, according to a manager at ERA.
When completed, the toll road is hoped to cut the two-hour drive from Adama (Nazareth) to Addis Abeba to one hour or less. ERA has not yet worked out how users of the road will be charged for the service and how the money thus collected will be managed.
Nonetheless, in the absence of feeder roads that absorb the traffic from six lanes toll-way, the immediate concern is on the road likely being clogged, experts warn.
"It will be worthless if the toll road gets completed before new roads are built," said Hilawe Abreham, an expert with construction management, with 20 years of experience in the industry.
The city officials are well aware of the potential crises. Kuma Demeksa, mayor of Addis Abeba, wrote on November 30, 2011, a letter to the Ministry of Transport, explaining the need for new roads to receive the flow from the toll road, which will start at a location in Akaki area, three kilometers off the road at UNISA.
Officials at (AACRA) have also requested loans from the Chinese EXIM Bank, soliciting finance for the constructions of these 60m wide roads will branch out to Yerer Ber and all the way to the roundabout at Ayat in the east. Another will take the west side crossing the town of Akaki to Lebu.
ERA is hoping to see the two roads completed before the toll road, according to Samson Wondimu, public relations head.
To be awarded to companies who will design and build, as well as source the financing, city officials are keen to determine how much the new roads will cost. The work to develop preliminary designs, which will help estimate initial cost, is currently undertaken by Core, a Category 1 domestic firm specializing in highways and bridges.
"We're working to finalize it as soon as possible," said Ephrem Gebre-egziabher, project manager at Core.
Although city authorities have given the consulting firm two months to complete the designs, experts foresee the work taking much longer.
"I don't think it will be completed this soon," an expert, who requested anonymity, told Fortune. "Finalizing the design and dealing with the construction firm will take at least six months."
Experts such as Hilawe advise AACRA to finalize documentations ahead of time, in order to meet deadline.
Fekade Hailu (Eng.), general manager of AACRA, agrees. The Authority is preparing contract documents to be signed with the construction firm to be awarded the projects, he disclosed to Fortune.
Source : allafrica.com
Posted on : 30 Nov,-0001