Addis Ababa, (WIC) – The Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AA-LRT) project is going according to schedule, Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) disclosed.
Over 40 percent of the project is planned to be completed during the current budget year and the corporation says half of that has already been accomplished.
“Half way into the budget year, the project is going on track and so far 20 percent of the project is completed,” Debo Tunka, ERC’s infrastructure division deputy Chief Executive Officer, said.
The government has allocated 475 million USD for the light city rail transit, out of which 85 percent is a loan secured from EXIM bank of China. According to the deputy CEO, so far 20 percent of the project cost, including a 15 percent down payment to the contractor, has been put to use.
The two line rail tracks extend 17.35Km from east to west direction stretching from Ayat Village to Tor Hailoch passing through Megenagna, Legehar and Mexico. In the north to south direction, a 16.9Km rail track will pass through Menelik Square, Merkato, Lideta, Legehar, Meskel Square, Gotera and Kaliti. The two directions will have a common track of about 2.8Km.
The contractor, China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), began working on the project in January 2012 and the LRT is expected to be completed in January 2015.
Due to Addis Ababa’s topography the LRT project will include the construction of an underground tunnel and bridges at different parts of the city.
The underground tunnel is being constructed at the northern end of the North-South section. The road off Adwa square stretching to St. Petros Square is fenced and a 15 meters tunnel is dug up for the underground tunnel in a cut-and-cover method.
According to AA-LRT project manager, Behailu Sentayehu, digging of the tunnel will be completed in three months and building of concrete walls will commence afterwards. Ground clearing and leveling works are also underway on medians from Ayat to Megenagna and Meshualekia to Akaki sections.
The Swedish National Road Consulting AB (SWEROAD), a subsidiary to the Swedish National Road Administration, has been appointed consultant to the AA-LRT project as of June 2012.
Eyob Tessema, SWEROAD’s resident engineer for the LRT project, said the project is going in accordance with the required quality and on schedule.
EREC’s deputy project manager, Cai Qinhao, said his company is working to accomplish the project on schedule. But he urged stakeholders to remove all public utility lines en route the rail track, specifically a major pipeline on the road from Hayahulet to Urael.
The Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) has hired a contractor to relocate the pipeline by April 2013, according to ERC’s deputy CEO, Debo.