Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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BusinessA plethora of issues beset transit project

A plethora of issues beset transit project

The long-overdue Bus Rapid Transit is delayed as a result of design complications and a need for further studies.

Last year, the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau awarded the French company Safege Sas, the British Integrated Transport Planning Ltd and Hammda Engineering Consult Plc., a local partner, to consult, design and supervise the project. The companies were given the contract at a total cost of 64.7 million birr.

The agreement was signed in March 2017 between Fekadu Haile (Eng), the then head of the Addis Ababa City Roads Authority and representatives of the companies.

At the time, the awarded company had agreed to complete the design work within eight months. It proposed to finish the design and then hire a contractor within five months. In total, it would have taken 26 months to complete the construction work of the B2 corridor. The project was supposed to be completed in 2018. However, things came to a standstill owing to several factors.

“The main contracting company has to be registered in Ethiopia and this has taken them a while,” said Tewodros Tsegaye, head of the project with the Addis Ababa Transport Management Project Office.

A need to revisit design work of the project has been another factor.

As per the contractual agreement, the awarded companies were given the contract over the B2 corridor. This corridor was intended to serve the western section of the city. B2 will pass through five sub-cites, including Addis Ketema, Nefas Silk, Kirkos, Gulelle and Lideta. It will link places such as Pasteur, Wingate, Autobus Tera, Kera, Gofa Gabriel and Jemmo condominium sites.

When the contract was signed, this particular corridor was expected to serve 2,700 passengers per hour on both directions.

“Later we found out that the demand along this particular corridor was high,” said Tewodros. So hopefully the work will commence next year.

The project is part of the city’s plan to introduce a variety of mass transportation. As far as BRT is concerned, the idea was first initiated almost seven years ago. Back then, feasibility studies were conducted by Egis Rail and Lyon Town Planning Agency (LTPA).

Following that, the Addis Ababa City Roads Authority commissioned an Indian company and Beza Consulting PLC, to conduct preliminary studies as well as design work.

Once the study was completed, the project could not go further because of lack of finance.

It was in 2015 that the project got revived following funding secured from the French government. Close to 85 million Euros were already secured from Agencé France de Development (AFD).

It was later that the city decided o conduct a second study by hiring Safege Sas.

According to preliminary studies, the line from Gofa Gabriel to Autobus Tera will be totally rebuilt.

In this regard, the left and right lanes will be reserved for passenger vehicles while the middle lane will be dedicated to the BRT.

In addition to the B2 corridor, the project office has a plan to construct more BRT corridors across the city.

“We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with two Chinese companies,” said Tewodros.

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