Details of Addis light rail project around Adwa, St Abune Petros sq emerge

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Addis Ababa, November 30 (WIC) – Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) revealed details of the Addis Light Rail Project around Adwa and St Abune Petros squares, which were centers of confusion recently.

The detailed design shows the rail route, which commences from Adwa Square, will be an underground tunnel stretching up to two kilometers.   

“As a result, the statue of King Menelik will remain intact,” Dr Getachew Betru, director of ERC, said at a press conference held jointly with other stakeholders on Thursday, November 29, 2012.

“The statue will not be affected by the project neither during the construction nor operations phase,” the director stressed.

The construction, however, will not spare the statue of St Abune Petros, which was erected in 1941 in memory of the archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who was killed by fascist Italian invaders for his support of the national patriots’ movement against Italian aggressors.

“The statue of his holiness will be removed during the construction phase as it is en route the underground tunnel,” Getachew said. “But this is only temporary and it will be erected once the construction is completed.”

The contractor, China Railway Group Limited (CREC), had fenced the area and digging of a 20 meters deep tunnel for the concrete wall is underway. 

Gebrestadik Hagos, head of the city’s Culture and Tourism Bureau, said a committee, which will oversea the removal and subsequent reinstatement of the statue of St. Abune Petros is set up. The committee is comprised of the city’s Culture and Tourism Bureau, Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Authority, Addis Ababa City Roads Authority and ERC.

“The task of removing and temporarily erecting the statue at the national museum will be delicately carried out,” Yonas Desta, Director of Addis Ababa Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Authority, said on the occasion. “The statue will be reinstated at exactly the same place,” Yonas assured.

ERC commenced the 34.25 km double track electrified light rail transit project in December 2011 after securing funds from Exim Bank of China.

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 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.

The corporation plans to complete 42 percent of the total project this budget year, including 80 percent of soil and civil works.