This year 91 new roads expected

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The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) disclosed that construction of 91 roads will begin in this fiscal year. They will be paid for by an already earmarked 46.3 billion birr in the 2012 budget year, of which 38 billion birr comes from the government treasury.
Habtamu Tegegn, ERA’s Director General said that 48 road projects are new and more than half are projects in the pipeline or projects that are delayed, adding that the Authority made no new projects last fiscal year.
According to the Director General, the government allotted a huge budget for road sector. In fact, it was three times the amount of the previous year but still more needs to be done.
For the last 21 years, the sector swallowed more than 256 billion birr. The government treasury paid for 83 percent of this to build 16,000km of road networks.
“We should follow other mechanism to boost the road coverage by engaging other actors as a single government agency cannot do it alone,” the director said.
“The federal government road network data registered close to 30,000 km. The coverage is not enough for the country. Ethiopia has an area of 1.1million square kilometers so the government must invest more in the sector until the coverage reaches 500,000 km, he added.
The nation hopes to boost this road coverage to 220,000 Km by the end of the second edition of the Growth & Transportation Plan (GTP II).
As to the Director General, ERA and regional road authorities need more clear communication in an attempt to build more asphalt roads.
Poor performance related to the contractors, and preparation of documents, beside issues related to compensation and demarcation are some of the challenges in road construction.
Out of the planned roads one connecting Addis Ababa with Debre -Birhan, Addis Ababa with Jimma, Addis Ababa with Chancho and the already started Mojo -Hawassa toll roads are some of them. The Abay Bridge that has a 21.5m width will also begin this fiscal year.
For the last fiscal year, the government allotted 28 billion birr and used its entire budget on many projects that were delayed.
“The huge budget allocation for the road projects alone will not address the problems as it takes more time and finding a new mechanism of contracting roads aggressively is needed,” the director said.