500 Billion birr required for metropolitan growth, City Road Authority signals

By Muluken Yewondwossen
The Addis Ababa City Road Authority (AACRA) underscores that for the coming ten year, it needs half a trillion birr to expand the metropolitan road network.
Currently, the city administration is allocating on average over a 10 billion birr every year which has allowed the road authority to handle several projects on its way to improve the infrastructure of the continental hub.
According to Moges Tibebe, Director General of AACRA, the road infrastructure that the city currently oversees is estimated at 247 billion birr.
As Moges indicates, the major share of the city administration budget goes to the capital budget of which the priority share is allocated towards road sector development.
“From the total 140 billion birr for the 2023/24 budget that the Addis Ababa City Administration approved, AACRA secured 11.6 billion birr,” he said.
Addis Ababa is the busiest city in Ethiopia that hosts the major portion of motor mobility and the fast increment of number of vehicles has made the road of the city congested, despite the city administration undertaking several new projects and road upgrades in the past two decades.
In the past few years AACRA’s project handling and project accomplishment has shown significant improvement. For instance, it is constructing the 2.4 billion birr worth, 11 km Qality-Tulu Dimtu road that is at 69 percent completion. The road also serves as the oldest gateway from Ethiopia’s logistics hub Djibouti to the city center.
The overpasses of Lebu, Imperial and Bole Michael which in total cost over 2.1 billion birr are expected to improve the traffic activity in the ring road network, and are other major project examples that are in the final stage for inauguration.
AACRA is also constructing the Bole Qality-Qilinto that includes the longest bridge of 42 meters for the city located at Village 5 around Gelan Gura.
“Totally, we are constructing a 2.3 km long river bridge and over passes that would ease the traffic activity in the city,” Moges said, adding, “The road infrastructure demand is very high in the city that needs to be sorted out which and is our major priority.”
“Currently with the support of the World Bank a transport master plan is being carried out that would allow identification of projects that should get a priority so as to see major improvements on the traffic movement,” he added.
“We are now undertaking a design work for road projects that will be constructed in the coming ten years that are expected to a cost of over 500 billion birr,” the Director General highlighted.
As Moges informed Capital, as per the master plan that was carried out by the World Bank, in the coming ten years USD 9.5 billion is required, that is, over 500 billion birr.
“In terms of birr, the amount would show changes as per inflationary experience that we are observing,” he explained whilst further elaborating, “For instance, in the past less than two years the price of fuel has surged from 23 birr per liter to 76 birr, cement, rebar and bitumen price are also surging so for sure the estimated of half a trillion birr cost will surge in the coming years.”
He reminded that most of project inputs are imported, which is out of control when it comes to managing the cost.
Budget from the city administration, loan, grant and resource from Road Fund are the major sources of funds for the road sector development in the city.
The budget allocation from the city administration is increasing every year. For example, AACRA’s budget this year has increased by almost three billion birr compared with the 2022/23 budget year’s initial budget, which was 8.95 billion birr but has now expanded to 12.4 billion birr from the resource that was allocated on additional budget.
Moges also expected this year budget to have additional funding like the past budget year, “As the initial budget, this year’s budget has set a record high.”
As he explained, since the resource that is needed for the coming ten years is very huge, AACRA is considering public private partnership on selected project sites.
To attain that, the city administration is developing an ultramodern traffic management center at the newly constructed Addis Ababa City Transport Bureau HQ at Megenagna.
“Besides undertaking aggressive road construction, we are also working to optimize the current infrastructures through intelligent transport system that will allow the use of existing roads with modern information systems,” he explained.
As the DG disclosed, in order to introduce an intelligent transport system, the civil works have been accomplished with Hisense, a contractor, on its way to install required technologies at the center and selected corners at a cost of USD 20 million to kick start the intelligent transport system.
According to AACRA’s, which is one of the well performing public office in the city administration, 1,014 km road projects that includes maintenance was carried out in the past budget year that ended July 2023.
Currently, AACRA has 528 projects out of which 54 are asphalt road projects.
Moges said that in the past five years, 82 asphalt road projects have been accomplished, which indicated that the city administration gave sensible attention to the sector development.
As the AACRA head emphasized, sustainable change in the city road is crucial for improvement.
According to the sector experts the sector still needs further effort particularly in allocating huge resources to undertake massive and aggressive expansion in the sector.
In parallel with expanding the road network, the Addis Ababa City Administration is carrying out several initiatives to improve motor mobility in the city including conducting projects to accelerate seamless traffic flow.
According to Moges, one of the ways to make Addis Ababa, a standard city is for the World Bank to provide several supports.
With the support of Word Bank the first drainage master plan is being undertaken, “Similarly, the transport master plan, which is the first at this level, is developed that is a big input for the city’s structural master plan on its revision in the coming four to five years.”
World Bank is also supporting the bus rapid transit strategy study.
Currently, AACRA is also revising the 20 year old, 28 manuals like design manual, specifications and guidelines.
The manual revision is currently being carried out by DarAl-Handasah, a well known international consultant, with the support of World Bank which will improve the road sector development that shall adopt the current international experience.
“In the past, the design manual gave priority to vehicles with the highway concept. Now it has been revised with the consideration of mixed traffic,” the Director General cited, adding, “The revision manual will take in to account non-motorized traffic, mass transportation, and public space and give priority to safety,”
“The international partner is also supporting the 4.5 km road project that stretchs from British Embassy-Haya Hulet-Bole Medhanialem,” Moges added.
The intelligent transport system is also supported by World Bank, while the civil work cost is fully covered by the city administration.

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