China is consolidating its presence in Africa, despite its trade war with the US and is set to begin the construction of Ethiopia’s longest bridge, estimated to cost US$49 million.
The bridge will be built by a Chinese firm, China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) after it signed a deal with the country to design and build the bridge.
The Chinese firm secured the project to build the Bahir Dar Abay Bridge by placing an offer, which was 15.3% higher than the engineer’s estimates. It will be constructed across the Abay River and is expected to last for a period of three years.
The Abay Bridge will have a 21.5m width and the capacity to accommodate a three-lane carriageway, a bicycle path, and a walkway. The government of Ethiopia will be covering the entire cost of the project.
Three companies that were initially in the bidding process with CCCC were disqualified, leaving the Chinese firm as the sole bidder. Their financial offer was opened in February 2019.
The construction of this new bridge is to replace the 60-year-old existing bridge, ‘Bahir Dar Abay‘ that has deteriorated and aged. The Ethiopian Roads Authority had two years ago hired CCCC to maintain the old bridge.
The Bahir Dar Abay bridge will be the longest bridge in Ethiopia once completed, taking over that claim from the 319m Bashilo River Bridge that opened for traffic on October 2006. The 305m bridge over the Baro River in Gambella Regional State and the 303m Abay Bridge were the second and the third-longest bridges in the country.
CCCC is also behind many major mega projects in the country, including the construction of the Kombolcha Industrial Park, the nation’s first; the Addis-Adama Expressway; the Africa Avenue (Bole Road); Measo-to-Djibouti railway; and the expansion of the Addis Abeba Bole International Airport.
The company currently has four ongoing road projects including the Hawassa Airport-Bishan Guaracha (Tikur Weha); Jijiga-Gelesh; Cherereti-Hagermekor; and Arsi Negele-Hawassa.