ERA awards 2. 8 bln br worth road project to Chinese companies

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The construction of the Kombolcha-Milé road has been awarded to Zhongmei Engineering Group and Shandong Highway Engineering Construction Group,both Chinese companies. The signing ceremoany was held on June 7 at the HQ of the Ethiopian Road Authority (ERA).
The inked agreement with the two companies for the construction of Kombolcha-Milé road, which is 133km long, will cost the Authority 2.8 billion birr. 
The first segment of the project starts at Kombolcha town connecting it with the town of Burka and is 60km long.  Zhongmei Engineering Group is tasked with the construction of this segment and will cost approximately 1.58 billion birr.
Shandong Highway Engineering Construction Group will be responsible for the construction of the second segment, which starts at Burka and ends at Milé. This segment is 73km long and will cost the Authority roughly 1.28 billion birr.
Both companies have agreed to complete the project in three years’ time. The selection process for consultants of both segments of the road is still underway.
The existing gravel road will be upgraded to asphalt that can smoothly and efficiently accommodate traffic flow, and enhance the region’s economic activities.  This road will be seven meters wide with 1.5m shoulders on both sides, but the width will be stretched from 14m upto 19m in towns, depending on the areas.
The cost of construction of the Kombolcha – Milé road that connects the Amhara Regional state with the Afar Regional state will shorten the previous route travelling via Chifra through Woldiya. It will be funded with a loan acquired from the World Bank (WB) in October 2012.
Some eight months ago the WB and the Ethiopian government signed a USD 1.15 billion loan agreement that would be paid back in 40 years at an interest rate of 0.75 percent.
USD 415 million of this loan is intended for the construction of roads including Ambo-Weliso, Debre Berhan-Ancober, Kombolcha-Milé, Mizan-Dima and Konso-Yabelo roads, while the remaining USD 600 million, is intended to be used in agriculture, health and education sectors. The roads collectively are approximately 434.6km long.