The Ministry of Transport (MoTr) officially commenced the construction of Melodoni junction-Manda-Bure road project that links Ethiopia with the Eritrean Port of Assab on the Red sea.
The launching ceremony was held on Thursday, in the presence of Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport, joined by Awol Arba, Chief Administrator of Afar regional state, and other government officials.
According to the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA), the 71.65km long highway road project will be built with the aim of stretching key infrastructures that will help facilitate Ethiopia’s import-export trade. The asphalt road will have a 19 and 10 meter width in urban and rural areas, respectively.
The construction project is expected to bring Ethiopia alternative routes to foreign markets, as it has almost been dependent on Djibouti ports since the Ethio-Eritrean war broke out in 1998.
According to ERA, the project has already been awarded to a Chinese firm, Shandong Liquino Group, while the project is expected to cost over two billion birr. The Ethiopian Government is expected to fund the whole project.
Smek International was hired as the consultant and supervisor of the project, while another company– Value Engineering–has been granted a sub-contractor’s role to the project.
Two years ago, the Eritrean government reported that it had completed a 71 km asphalt road connecting the Ethiopian border in Bure to the port of Assab. It was also indicated that the construction cost of the project in the Eritrean territory was covered by the Eritrean government and other internal resources.
Last week, Dagmawit and Awol also jointly inaugurated a newly built road project located in Afar region near the Djibouti border.
According to the ministry, the newly inaugurated road, the Dicheoto-Galafi junction –Elidar – Belho, is a 78 km long cement concrete road which has consumed around 2.4 billion birr.
The new project was built by the state enterprise–Defense Construction Enterprise – while Eskinder Zewdie(Eng.) and Smek International jointly took on the roles of a consultant and a supervisor.
The road will enable Ethiopia use the new Tadjoura Port, besides easing traffic congestion at the existing Port of Djibouti, the Ministry said.
Following its inauguration, the road has been opened for traffic as of Thursday.