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The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) awards the first lot of the Mojo-Hawassa Express way project for the South Korean construction firm, Keangnam Enterprises Limited, Capital has learnt from the Ministry of Transport.


Minister of Transport Workneh Gebeyehu said the Korean company has won the bid for the first lot of the entire 209 kilometers road.
The project that will be financed with a loan secured from the South Korean government and a state funding is expected to commence in the current fiscal year. However, Keangnam Enterprises and ERA did not sign the official contract so far.
The project that will be constructed in different phases will connect the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNP) capital of Hawassa to the central part of the country with a comfortable toll road.
Samson Wondemu, Public Relations Head of ERA, told Capital that Keangnam will handle the project phase that stretches from Meki to Batu (formerly known as Zeway).
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a USD 126 million credit for the first phase of 56kms Mojo-Meki road section, which is segment one of the entire project. The local government will contribute USD 99.10 million to fund costs, local taxes, resettlement compensation and other expenses. AfDB also provided a USD 2.44 million to help the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) build its capacity.
According to Samson, a toll road project stretching from Mojo to Meki is on bid.
The 209 kms Mojo-Hawassa Highway project will be implemented in two phases. In phase I, construction of a 93kms new asphalt road will be carried out between the towns of Mojo and Zeway.
Keangnam Enterprises has been engaged in several road projects in Ethiopia in the past 16 years. The company has constructed the Mojo-Awash Arba, Ambo-Gedo, Azezo-Metemma, Hirna- Kulubi, and Alaba-Humbo projects, while the Jimma-Bonga-Mizan road project is being constructed at the moment. The Chinese government and the World Bank have promised to finance the remaining 116km toll road from Batu to Hawassa, which is the second phase of the Mojo- Hawassa toll road project.
The Batu-Hawassa project is also divided into two contracts- Zeway-Arisi Negele and Arisi Negele-Hawassa.
This road forms a fragment of the cross country Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa highway project. The Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa road facility is expected to boost local agri-business and regional trade among nations it passes through.
The existing Mojo-Hawassa road, which is dilapidated, forms the road link in the route from Cape Town to Cairo.
Workeneh said the government is in the process of implementing the Adama-Awash toll road, which is a continuation of Addis-Adama toll road in the Addis-Djibouti corridor.
The Addis-Adama toll road, the first express way for the country, commenced operation in September of last year.  Workneh said that the Adama-Awash project shall be commenced in the coming budget year.  He said the government is approaching financers for the realization of the project. 
The Ministry of Transport is also exploring for possibilities to include the Addis-Adama toll way and the Lebu-Akaki-IT Park (Goro) outer ring roads in the toll roads system. The Akaki-IT Park road project, that will connect the express way with the Northern and North eastern parts of the city, will cover 14.5kms, while the 13.6km Akaki-Lebu project will connect the Addis-Adama toll road with the Western and South-western parts of Addis.
The Addis Ababa – Adama road corridor was constructed with 11.2 billion birr with a loan secured from China’s EXIM Bank. Currently, over 9,000 vehicles use this road every day on average making a daily average earning of 350,000 birr.