ERC aims to complete 42% of Addis light rail project this year

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Addis Ababa, September 29 (WIC) – The Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) plans to complete 42 percent of the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit Project, a 34.25 km double track electrified light rail transit, this budget year.

The corporation began implementation of the much awaited project in December last year after securing funds from Exim Bank of China.

“We plan to complete 42 percent of the project in the fiscal year,” Abebe Mihretu, communication services head at ERC, said. “These are major civil works including clearing and leveling the route.”

China Railway Group Limited (CREC), which signed Memorandum of Understanding with ERC for the construction of the LRT in March 2009, has received 15 per cent of the project cost (about 75 mln USD) in advance payment. The internationally reputed Chinese construction company is ranked 112th in Fortune’s Global 500 companies in 2012.

Construction of the LRT project, which was suspended following the rainy season, has now resumed. The project is expected to be fully completed in two and half years.

“Mobilization works, which is about 10 percent of the whole project, is finalized. Unless things beyond our control occur, we are confident that the project will be completed on schedule,” Abebe told WIC.

Construction of camp sites and offices at Ayat Village and a mixing plant and crushing cite at Arategna Kifle Tor are completed.   

Ground works are underway on the median from Ayat to Megenagna (8Km) while similar works are expected to start on the median from Meshualekia to Kality (10Km) soon, Abebe said. According to ERC these are sections with little or no issues regarding right of ways or public utility lines.

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.

Abebe said no major changes are made to the conceptual design refuting claims that a design change has been made.

“A change in the conceptual design does not mean a change in route,” Abebe explained. “In the detailed design we have alternated at which point the track should go at grade, underground or over a bridge.”

In collaboration with the Addis Ababa Transport Authority a design, which suits commuters, traffic and the city’s master plan, is agreed upon, he said.

The LRT tracks will be laid on medians. Including fences, the area could be as wide as 13 meters, according to Abebe. But Abebe insists if there is any demolition of buildings, it is not to do with the LRT project but with the city’s master plan.

The Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit will have a total of 41 rails each with a capacity to carry 286 passengers. This will enable the light rail transit to provide transportation service to 15,000 people per hour in one direction and 60,000 in all four directions.