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The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) announced that the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the 202.48 km Mojo-Hawassa Expressway has been completed.
According to ERA, the project will be financed by the government of Ethiopia and four financers; African Development Bank, World Bank, Korea and China Export and Import Banks.
The main purpose of conducting the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) studies is to ensure that design of the road takes into account the impact on the environment and the people who might have to relocate as the road is being designed. These types of studies also strive to minimize the induced impacts during construction.
The ESIA and RAP studies take into account the positive and negative environmental and social impacts of the proposed road project. They then propose actions that would mitigate those issues. A detailed environment and social management plan has also been prepared.
Regarding households and farmlands that are expected to be affected by the project, ERA states that 455 million Birr has already been budgeted for a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP); for payment and implementation.
ERA stated that the current Mojo-Hawassa road gives service to a variety of vehicles, cyclists and animal driven carts. It points out that the heavy traffic causes congestion so that vehicles can not move quickly and there are a lot of accidents in both rural and urban areas that have lead to many fatalities and damaged property.
Besides the pollution caused by the traffic congestion in urban areas, the existing road also has failed to sustain the growing traffic flow and axle load volume, long haul and local transport demands as well as social and ecological safety issues.
ERA stated that the rapidly growing economy in the country requires an improved and modern road and transport system that allows carrying agricultural inputs and products, raw materials as well as industrial products. The new to be constructed expressway will become an important segment of the country’s infrastructure to carry out a smooth and effective transportation of goods and materials.
The new Mojo-Hawassa expressway is expected provide a long lasting solution to the present rapidly evolving problems, and at the same time to contribute to the economic development of the country through improved road structure, ERA said in a statement.
ERA has awarded the study and design of the Mojo-Hawassa express way to Techniplan International Consulting firm. The study and design will further be reviewed by Ethio-Infra Engineering PLC. It is stated that during the overall study and design, social and environmental components of the project are considered. The environment assessment and scoping was carried out to identify major environmental and social impacts.
The new expressway will feature free access and grade – separated interchanges with adequate link roads to connect it to major urban centers, ordinary road networks and other feeder roads. The road is also expected to improve the connectivity of high potential farming and tourism areas.