The light rail transit project of Addis Ababa city faces delays due to the concurring eight kilometer long water pipeline relocation, which will not be completed until the coming rainy season.
According to the plan, before the construction of a railway line from CMC to Mexico Square, the main line of water supply to the city from Legedadi Dam has to be relocated. The relocation has been necessitated by the light railway construction, which follows the same line as the water pipeline.However the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) signed a deal with the Chinese contractor, CGCOC, in August 2012 to relocate the pipeline which provides water to over a million people in the city, within ten months, but the project is not expected to be completed until July 2013. Sources at the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC), the state owned enterprise which owns the project, told Capital that AAWSA has confirmed the project will be completed in April 2013. “It would not be so bad if the delay was for two months or so, but we have to wait until October for the rainy season to end” ERC sources complained.
According to sources, this was one of the major issues discussed at a meeting held this past week by the project steering committee chaired by Diriba Kuma, Minister of Transport and Kuma Demeksa, Mayor of Addis Ababa.
According to sources, the current obstacle has garnered a great deal of attention not only from relevant steering committee offices but also from the federal government, which is also evaluating the issue. According to sources, late Friday November 23, 2012 relevant officials discussed the issue at the Prime Minister’s office, but the source did not go into any further detail. The steering committee includes the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), Ethio Telecom, ERC and AAWSA.
According to sources who attended the steering committee meeting, ERC has expressed its apprehension about the delay of the water pipeline project until the rainy season.
According to our sources, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group (CREEC), is interested in finalising the project before the original deadline set on the contract agreement signed with ERC. The deal indicated that the project should be completed by mid-2014, but the company promised that it will complete it within two years if the project site can be cleared for the construction on time.
According to the deal, the project will cost the city about 400 million birr. .
Etsegenet Tesfaye, public relations head of AAWSA, told Capital that parts of the project are being undertaken on time. She said that the project will not be delayed or rescheduled for additional months. “They will accomplish the project as fast as possible,” Etsegenetsaid.
Even though the public relations head said the project will be completed on time; officials at ERC who requested anonymity said that based on the current condition of the pipeline relocation project, the execution period of the railway project will be affected significantly.
CREEC was awarded the 37.375Kms Addis Ababa light rail transit project and commenced working mid 2012.
The railway stretches mainly from Defence Forces Hospital to Ayat Village, which is 17.26Km, with other tracks that will lead from Meskel Square to Kality (16.246Km) and the 3.875Km rail line from Lideta to Menilik Square.
The Addis Ababa light rail transit project also designed by CREEC is expected to be 60 percent financed by the Chinese government and 40 percent from the coffers of the Ethiopian government.
The 37.375Km Addis Ababa light rail transit project is estimated to cost over 400 million dollars and is scheduled to be completed in two and half years. The project is one of the projects expected to be finished during the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period.
Currently, construction between Ayat and Civil Service College in eastern Addis Ababa is actively taking place. According to sources, the railway from Ayat to Megenagna will be partially open for service when it is completed. It is unknown exactly when it will be completed, but it is expected to start operation before the other light rail projects.
The Ethiopian Railway Corporation has also signed with CREEC to construct the first phase of the 317Km Addis Ababa – Me’eso railway line.
The second part of the 340Km Me’eso – Dire Dawa – Dawale electric railway project was awarded to another Chinese state owned enterprise, Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The Ethiopian government plans to construct more than 2,000Km of rail lines during the five year Growth and Transformation Plan period.