Expansion of LRT will commence in 2016

The Addis Ababa Light Railway Transit (AALRT) will be extended on all four terminal points to reach Legetafo and Gelan towns, to Lebu and Shiro Meda,  Arkebe Oqubay, board chairman of Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) has announced this week.

Arkebe Oqubay (PhD), Special Advisor to the Prime Minister with a  minister portfolio and board chairman of Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC), told Capital that the extension of the Addis Ababa Light Railway Transit (AALRT) will commence in 2016.
“We have observed that the AALRT is a good way to expand the mass transportation without pollution and we intend to expand it in different phases,” Arkebe said.
Currently, the government is examining the financial input the project will take to embark on the project, and it is also looking for companies that would undertake the project, Arkebe has said.
Capital had recently reported that ERC was negotiating with the Chinese state giant China Railway Group Ltd (CREC) give the expansion work, which is the second phase of the AALRT, to the Chinese company.
The company had built the AALRT which became operational at the beginning of the current Ethiopian year, with financing from the Chinese EXIM Bank.
The metropolitan tram covers a total distance 16.9km on its North-South line and 17.35km on the East-West line.
Sources at CREC told Capital that the Chinese company will facilitate soliciting the finance for the extension of the AALRT project.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn had discussed the issue with company officials during his visit to China earlier in this budget year.
The second phase of the LRT will have equal length as the first one, which is 34.25km. The first project has consumed USD 475 million.
Ethiopia has interest to modernize its mass transportation means, particularly in the capital city, which is seriously cramped by shortage.
About 200,000 commuters use the LRT daily, according to information Ethiopian Railways Corporation has released in the first month of the service commencement.
The expansion will extend the AALRT from Ayat to Legetafo, and to Lebu via Alem Bank from Tor Hailoch terminal on the east-west   line. The north-south line will also be elongated to Shero Meda from Minilik Square and to Gelan from Kality, respectively.
The Lebu and Gelan terminal points will be connected with the national railway line, which is nearing the final stages of construction, that leads to the sea ports in Djibouti from Sebeta, in the West of Addis Ababa.
CREC is also undertaking the 329km Sebeta-Meiso project which is part of the 668km Sebeta-Dewelle railway line that connects Ethiopia with Djibouti. CREC also has  interest to start another railway line project that shuttles from Mojo to Hawassa.The second lot of the 339km Meiso-Dire Dawa-Dawelle electric railway project was awarded to another Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC).
In the current GTP, the government had planned to carryout 2,000km national railway line construction. Out of this, 668km of the Sebeta-Dewelle line was constructed, excluding the AALRT.