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The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) is considering only Chinese companies for the construction of the nation’s third expressway, which will extend the Addis-Adama Expressway, with an estimated cost of 12 billion Br it secured from the EX-IM Bank of China.

For the project, the Authority re-announced a non-inclusive tender, only inviting Chinese construction firms. ERA announced the tender on June 1, 2017, in the daily state newspaper, The Ethiopian Herald.

The government has already secured the finance for the 120km project from EX-IM Bank of China. The road will be an extension of the 84.7km Addis-Adama Expressway.

The first bid was announced in July 2016 but it was subsequently cancelled as the Authority believed the offers made by the companies were highly inflated, according to Samson Wondium, communications director at the Authority.

The road will have two lots; the first lot extends from Adama to Wolnchiti, covering 60km, and the second will extend from Wolnchiti to Awash, having a same length of 60km. The roads will pass through Amhara, Oromia and Afar regional states.

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This expressway is part of a project that the Authority plans to construct from Adama to Messo town through Awash, all located in the eastern part of the country, with a total length of 202.5km and an estimated cost of  20.2 billion Br. ERA divided the project into three phases, the first starting on the outskirts of Adama destined to reach Dire Dawa.

The announcement invites companies to design and build the expressway. The project will also include link roads, overpass bridges, underpasses, interchanges and toll plazas.

It also requires the companies to have a five-year experience in constructing expressways and have an annual turnover of three billion Br.

“Since we secured the finance last year from China, we invited only Chinese companies, which have a vast experience in the area,” said Samson.

To conduct a preliminary study and assessment of the project, ERA hired a Chinese company, Beijing Expressway Supervision, and an Ethiopian firm, Beza Consulting Engineers Plc, for 41.1 million Br in 2013. The two companies submitted the study in 2015. They found that an estimated cost of the project was 100 million Br per kilometre. But this cost might inflate, as the study was done two years ago and while working on the detailed design of the road.

This expressway is expected to cut the drive from Adama to Awash by half, according to Samson.

The new road will be an extension of the county’s first ever expressway, which was inaugurated three years ago. China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) build the six-lane Addis-Adama Expressway at the cost of 11 billion Br. The 25pc of the cost was from the government’s offer while EX-IM Bank of China financed the balance amount in a loan arrangement.

The second expressway, extending from Modjo to Hawassa, is underway with an estimated cost of 700 million dollars. The 218km road is divided into four phases, and the construction of one of the phases kicked off in 2015, at a cost of 3.6 billion Br. Covering 72km, the project was awarded to Chinese Railway No.7.

For the second phase of the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II), the country targets to construct a 761-kilometre highway, including the Adama to Awash Expressway. The country’s road network has reached over 110,414kms and is targeted to reach 220,000kms in the coming three years.

Upon completion, the Adama to Awash expressway project will facilitate the logistics from Djibouti to Addis Abeba, according to Samson.

On a daily basis, over 22,000 vehicles pass through the Adama to Awash road, which serves as a gate for over 90pc of the country’s import and export volume, according to data from ERA.

The Addis-Adama project is the most expensive expressway  so far with 131 million Br a kilometre, which is 91 million Br lower than the most expensive road project to date, Qality-Tulu Dimtu Highway. The Adama-Awash Expressway follows it with an estimated cost of 100 million Br a kilometre, and Modjo-Meki comes third with a cost of 48.6 million Br a kilometre.

The financial opening of the Adama to Awash project will be held in July 2017.

 Source : AddisFortune

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