The Chinese construction firm CGCOC, which is tasked with relocating the 8km main water pipeline for the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), has completed the majority of the relocation work excluding the part which passes through the compound of the Bulgarian Embassy located on Haile Gebreselassie Road.
The project initially caused a dispute between the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) and the Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) due to delays at the beginning of the previous fiscal year. Months ago, ERC complained that delays in relocation may affect the railway construction project if AAWSA cannot complete its project before the commencement of the rainy season.
According to the plan, before the construction of a railway line from the CMC area to Mexico Square, the main water supply line to the city from the Legedadi Dam had to be relocated, because it follows the same line as the LRT. The contentious delay question was one of the major issues discussed at a meeting held by the project steering committee chaired by Diriba Kuma, the current Mayor of Addis Ababa, and Kuma Demeksa, the former Mayor and current Advisor to the Prime Minister on policy issues with the rank of Minister. ERC expressed its concerns about the delay at the meeting.
AAWSA signed a deal with CGCOC in August 2012 to relocate the pipeline, which provides water to over a million people in the city, within ten months. The deal for complete relocation is expected to cost the city about 400 million birr.
Etsegenet Tesfaye, Public Relations Head of AAWSA, told Capital that the project has been completed excluding the part which passes through the compound of the Bulgarian Embassy. .
According to an AAWSA official, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is handling the situation involving the Bulgarian Embassy.
The China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) was awarded the Addis Ababa LRT project and commenced work in mid 2012.
The railway stretches mainly from the Defence Force Hospital to the Ayat Village, which is 17.26km, with other tracks beginning from Meskel Square to Kality (16.246km) and from Lideta to Menilik Square (3.875km).
CREC intends to finalise the project before the original deadline set on the contract agreement signed with ERC. The deal indicates that the project must be completed by mid 2014. The Addis Ababa LRT was designed by CREC and 60 percent of the financing is covered by the Chinese government with the rest coming from the coffers of Ethiopia. The project is estimated to cost over USD 400 million. ERC has also signed an agreement with CREC to construct the first phase of the 317km Addis Ababa-Mei’eso railway line.
The second part of the 340km Mei’eso-Dire Dawa-Dawale electric railway project was awarded to another Chinese state-owned enterprise, the Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The Ethiopian government plans to construct more than 2,000km of national rail lines during the five year Growth and Transformation Plan period.