The African Development Bank (AfDB) will float a tender this month to hire a company for the design and construction of a four-lane expressway that will extend from Adama to Awash, Oromia Regional State.
The Bank has pledged a 98-million-dollar grant to the government of Ethiopia for the construction of the 60Km expressway that is part of the planned 900Km Ethiopia-Djibouti Road Transport Corridor Project, which transports 90pc of the country's import and export commodities.
The agreement was signed early last week between Ahmed Shide, minister of Finance, and Abdul Kamara (PhD), the African Development Bank Group's country manager in Ethiopia.
AfDB's grant will be used for the construction of the first 60Km of the road from Adama to Melka Jilo.
The remaining 66Km of the segment of Adama-Awash Expressway will be built via a private-public partnership (PPP) arrangement, according to Getachew Yilma, PPP unit leader at the Ethiopian Roads Authority, which constructed 120,000Km for 256 billion Br over the past two-decade.
The total cost of the 126Km Adama-Awash Expressway is 255 million dollars, of which the Ethiopian government will cover 151 million dollars, and the remaining will be covered by funding from the Bank. AfDB also granted Djibouti 5.3 million dollars as a co-financing contribution. The construction of the road is expected to be started next year and completed in five years.
"The route is long and severely damaged," said Abdul. "The project proposes to upgrade the alternative southern corridor, which passes through Dewale."
Three years ago Bejing Expressway Supervision Co. Ltd, a Chinese firm, conducted the feasibility study of the first 60km of the first phase.
"Specific procurement notice for the pre-qualified contractors for designing and building the 60Km road will be issued this month," said Abdul.
As of June 2019, AfDB has 24 ongoing operations in Ethiopia with a total value of 1.7 billion dollars. The operations are in the energy, water supply and sanitation, transport and agriculture sectors. About 32pc of the Bank's operations are on road projects, amounting to 515 million dollars, including four ongoing projects covering about 610Km in different parts of the country.
Apart from financing the Adama-Awash Expressway, the Bank is supporting the design of the Galafi One-Stop Border Post to assist trade and transport facilitation along the Addis Abeba-Djibouti Transport Corridor. The project includes installing security and ICT systems and providing technical assistance to support government officials during bilateral coordination meetings.
The Adama-Awash Expressway will be the fourth highway in the country next to the first Addis-Adama, the under-construction Modjo-Hawassa and recently inaugurated Dire Dawa-Dewale expressways.
The first Addis-Adama toll road was inaugurated five years ago and was constructed with 11.2 billion Br. The 31m-wide, six-lane expressway took five years to be completed and shortens the total travel time from two hours to 45 minutes.
Dagne Haile, who has been driving for eight years in the Ethio-Djibouti corridor, welcomes the construction of the road.
"Because of the difficulty of the road, it takes up to three days to travel from Addis Abeba to Djibouti," says Dagne. "The road has also been causing damage to vehicles."
Atlaw Alemu (PhD), assistant professor at Addis Abeba University's College of Business & Economics, believes that the problem of the corridor is not only the road but the entire logistical process of importing and exporting goods.
"The construction of the road will minimize travelling time and operational costs," said Atlaw.