Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Chinese Firms to Undertake Two Billion Birr Road Projects in Amhara, South

The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) awarded over two billion Birr road construction projects to two Chinese companies in an agreement signed on Thursday, December 19, 2013.

The roads, totaling 121.5km, are found in the Amhara and Southern regional states. The road in Amhara will be undertaken by China First Highway Engineering (CFHE) for 1.55 billionBr.It involves 24kms of badly damaged asphalt road, constructed during the Italian occupation more than 60 years ago, and 43.5kms of gravel road. CalledDessie-Kutaber-Tenta Junction Road, it will be upgraded to asphalt.

The other road, in the Southern regional state, is the design and construction of a 54.7km gravel road from Omo-Kuraz Sugar Factory Number 2 Junction to Omo-Kuraz Sugar Factory Number 3 Junction. This project is awarded to Sino Hydro for 459 millionBr.

The two contracts were signed by Zaid Woldegabriel, ERA's general director, and Zhou Yongsheng, CFHEC's representative, and Tian Hongjun, the representative of Sino Hydro Corporation Limited, at the premises of the ERA's headquarters located nearMexico SquareonRas Abebe Aregay Street.

Established in April, 1963, CFHEC is an affiliate of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which has 15 years presence inEthiopia. CCCC's major recent road projects include the Addis Abeba - Adama expressway andAfrica Avenue(Bole Road) projects. The contract for the construction of the Addis-Adama expressway was signed in June 2009, with a four-year deadline. Construction started in April 2010.

Sino Hydro has built more than 900kms of road in the country, ERA said; its representative puts the figure at 1,000kms from a total of 10 roads. The Gonder to Debarq, Assossa to Kurmuk and Adama to Assela road projects are among those which it has delivered.

Financing for the projects will come from the Ethiopian government and the Kuwait Fund.

The 67.5km long and 10m wide (including shoulders) Dessie-Kutaber-Tenta Junction Road Upgrading Project is expected to be completed within 34 months. It will involve three new bridges and many ditches.

The design of the road was done by the Highway Engineers & Consultants (HEC) Core Consulting Plc.

"The project is difficult as most of the sections are located in mountainous areas," Zhou Yongsheng, said.

Despite the difficulty, though, his company has mobilized all needed resources to complete the project in time, he said.

The Omo-Kuraz Factory Number 2 and Factory Number 3 gravel road will be the first in the area which, to date, did not have any road infrastructure, according to a press release from ERA. This road will include a 200m bridge along theOmoRiveras well as two other bridges, many ditches and other structural works, says ERA. The road will be six metres wide, excluding shoulders.

CFHEC won the contract bidding against Hawk International Finance & Construction, a Yemeni company, SEW Infrastructure Developers Plc, an Indian company and Arab Contractors Plc, an Egyptian firm. Sino Hydro won its contract beating two Ethiopian firms, Enyi and Yencomad, as well as a Chinese firm, China Railway No. 3 Engineering Group.

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