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We recently inaugurated a spanking new toll expressway that would most definitely cut travel time when going to Adama and places in between. According to reports, the road will have the capacity to accommodate 15,000 vehicles per day and cost around 612 million USD.
The Addis Adaba-Adama expressway project is a part of the five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP) of the Ethiopian Government. The road is 20km shorter than the existing Addis Adaba Adama road, and apparently the route has been fenced on both sides for protection from pedestrians and animals. But we all know fencing is not an obstacle for the determined animals or pedestrians, just look at the Ring Road!
Toll gates on the expressway are installed at Addis Adaba and Adama, as well as at the six interchanges that connect the new expressway with Dukem, Bishoftu and Modjo towns. Each section has toll gates every 17km. This new infrastructure will reduce the average two hours of travel time between Addis Ababa and Adama.
The roads being constructed across the city also look like they are moving along pretty well, I am hopeful that soon we will be able to enjoy our tax money’s worth.
Having these new roads is all good but, with new roads comes new responsibilities. Unfortunately, we live in a country where we do not have the ability to follow the rules of engagement when we are out driving or walking.
I recently saw a photograph taken of the brand new express way, the it showed a couple of people just chilling and hanging out … on the freaking road! Yeah, one of the guys was just laying on his chest relaxing while the other was standing around.
That particular picture says so much about our mind set, a mind set that has really no place in a developing, changing and transforming country like ours. In my opinion, more than anything else, it is our way of thinking that will be the biggest challenge to over come. The way we think needs to be in symmetry with the change that is occurring in our environment, it needs to go forward and transform.
Changing our way of thinking and going with our changing and developing environment is one thing, but at this point, we also lack a thing as simple as common sense. It is common sense not to lay around on an express way, for example.
I recently went to Singapore with other  colleagues. While there we were all amazed by the conformist way of the people. Don’t get me wrong, the people are nice, they are out having a good time and all that, they are normal people, but, they follow rules. The difference between them and us was very visible at one particular occurrence.
Singapore does not have a lot of cars, hence not a lot of traffic. But there are still traffic lights and signs basically on every street, small or big.
So me and my colleagues decided to walk around to explore the city, we came to a street, we looked left and right, even though the sign on the traffic light said do not cross, as there were no cars passing by we decided to go ahead and cross. Everybody else was looking at us we were completely nuts.
We need to understand that these rules are not there to make our lives miserable; they are there for a valid reason. This goes beyond our roads and safety. We need to change the way we think about everything.
Let us all try and develop some common sense, try to follow rules that are there for a reason and grow alongside the positive changes we see around us. Let’s try and understand that roads built  at a cost of millions of dollars are not our backyards where we can just lay and hang out, they are not dumping sites nor are they bathrooms. We need to do a better job of taking care of them