The six-lane Addis Abeba–Adama (Nazareth) toll road
being constructed at an estimated cost of around 612
million dollars by China Communications Construction
Co (CCCC) is set for completion six months ahead of
The initial deadline was set for April 20, 2014.
The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) and CCCC signed
the contract in June 2009. Construction work
commenced in April 2010 by CCCC. This company was
founded by the Chinese Communication Construction
Group (CCCG) in 2006 with total assets at 41.2
Around 30pc of the construction has been completed,
said Gu Jun, resident engineer for the toll motorway
design and supervision road project for Beijing
Expressway Supervision Co, during a media tour of
the road on Wednesday, June 1, 2011.
Beijing Expressway, a subsidiary of Beijing
Enterprises Holdings, which was established in May
1997, is providing consultancy services for the
project. Expressway operations form part of the core
business segments of Beijing Enterprises, which had
total assets amounting to 2.1 billion dollars in
“The expressway is being built according to Chinese
quality standards and will reduce the travel time
between Addis Abeba and Adama to 40 minutes,” said
At present, it takes more than two hours, on
average, to travel between the two cities.
Upon completion by CCCC, which is principally
engaged in the design and construction of
transportation infrastructure, the 80km road would
be able to accommodate up to 15,000 vehicles daily
and could be upgraded to an eight-lane road if the
need arose, Jun claimed.
The project, which is aimed at relieving traffic
congestion and reducing frequent accidents, is
funded by a 350 million dollar loan from the
Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China. The amount
constitutes 57pc of the total cost and is to be
repaid over 20 years. The remaining 262 million
dollars (43pc) is to be covered by the Ethiopian
This overpass, one of
46 to be built for the Addis – Adama toll road can
accommodate 20tn in weight. Built with a height of
5.4 metres, a length of 25 metres, it will also have
a 1.8 metre fence to help prevent accidental drops
of people, vehicles, and animals. The press gathered
to tour the site notes that the machinery set on top
can lift and connect structures weighing 100tn.
“The modern features of the road, such as tall
gateways as well as the type of interchanges and
tollgates, make the expressway the first of its kind
in East Africa,” claimed Jun.
It comprises 46 overpasses, 22 underpasses, and 152
The overpasses are supported by stone structures,
reinforced concrete piers, and girders weighing 73tn
with nets at the top to prevent road users from
dropping off the 5.4-metre high overpass, according
to Williamor C Ramos, structural engineer for
The three underpasses are designed for automobiles,
agrimotors (agricultural motor vehicles that are not
tractors), and pedestrian, according to Ramos.
“The automobile underpasses will be 6.5 metres wide
and 4.5 metres high, while the agrimotor and
pedestrian underpass will both have widths of 4.5
metres as well as heights of 3.2 metres and 2.2
metres, respectively,” Ramos told Fortune. “The
parameters for designing culverts are based on
velocity, water scouring, and water levels but their
sizes differ based on actual flood discharge.”
Of the expressway’s tollgates, Addis Abeba and Adama
are each to have one, while the remaining is to be
located at the six interchanges.
Roads from these interchanges form part of the
project and would connect the expressway with Dukem,
Bishoftu (Debre Zeit), and Modjo towns.
“Prefeasibility studies have been conducted on other
roads that were found to need similar projects,”
said Samson Wondimu, director of communications at
the ERA. “They are Adama–Awash and Modjo–Hawassa
roads. The Addis Abeba–Adama Road was given priority
because it forms part of the Addis Abeba–Djibouti
The road also leads to the Bale Region, Oromia
Regional State, as well as Dire Dawa and Jijiga, the
capital of Somali Regional State.
The Addis Abeba–Bishoftu Air Force Road could be
opened as early as May 2012, according to Jun. The
entire project is to include service stations with
restaurants, fuel stations, and rest rooms along the
way, he claimed.
The project has not come without its challenges.
“There were problems with the compensation paid to
the people who were displaced by the project,”
Samson said. “Some of these did not even really live
in the area, but constructed makeshift dwellings in
an attempt to take advantage of the compensation
scheme. Traffic signs have also been vandalised,
stalling our progress.”
The ERA expects to spend more than 120 billion Br on
the 71,523km of new all-weather roads planned in the
GTP, according to the communications director.
Between 1996/97 and 2009/10, the road network has
increased from 26,000km to 49,000km at a cost of
around 60 billion Br.