Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Sur constructing road leading to potash deposits in Afar region

Road linking Northern Ethiopia with Djibouti expected to be finished in April

The Potash deposits of Afar are set to be accessible for mining companies and miners alike partly with the help of a 63Km Abala–Shaigube asphalt concrete road project being constructed at a cost of more than 707 million birr. The project is undertaken by Sur Construction Share Company and being supervised by a local consulting firm Net Consulting Engineers Private Limited Company. The road also connects Tigray regional state with Afar regional state.
According to Shabbir Hussain, contract administration division head at Sur Construction, the road project which started at the end of July 2010 is slated to be finished by January 2013. It will be seven meters wide with 1.5 meter shoulders on each side, meaning in total 10 meters wide.
He also said the project which has so far been 37 percent completed will be finished by the deadline although the design of seven bridges located in the road project has taken a while.
The road project is expected to have continuation projects such as the Agula- Shaigube- Berhale road and the Berhale- Dalol road, 70Km each respectively. The latter directly connects to the Dalol depression area which is currently under exploration for potash and other minerals by Canadian, Chinese and other mining companies.
Another road project, Sur Construction is currently executing is the 79.5Km Chifra-Aloha Asphalt Concrete road project, being supervised by Lea International, an Indian firm which it expects will be completed and become open to traffic by April 2012, which will cost in total about 500 million birr. This road project, which started in August 2007, so far is about 90 percent completed. It will be seven meters in width and have 1.5 meter shoulders at each of its sides.
Shabbir further said the road project was slightly delayed from its original schedule because three pre-existing bridges collapsed during the rainy season and since the project didn’t have design work for bridges, the delay was subsequently unavoidable.
The 79.5Km Chifra-Aloha Asphalt Concrete road project is the second phase of the 164Km Mille-Aloha road project with the Chinese Company China Road and Bridge Construction Company (CRBC) constructing the 85Km Mille town-Chifra project.
This is also part of the Djibouti-Woldiya- Mekelle road, connecting Djibouti port to the northern part of Ethiopia. It’s expected to cut roughly 200Km from the travel distance. 
Referring to occasional insecurities and the recent tourist abduction and killing that occurred in the Afar region, Shabbir said Sur construction has not faced any such insecurity problems apart from some natural occurrences and because it is a well staffed organization it has been able to cope with rising construction material costs.