Road networks impact the socio-economic activities of a country, and this in turn raises the living standards of societies. The construction of a new road that links the Central region with the Gash-Barka region, Adi-Guadad- Aqurdat road that was officially launched in an event held on 11 October at Habela will impact the development of Eritrea, in general, and the people living along the route, in particular.
The construction of the strategic two-lane highway, the first of its kind in Eritrea, will definitely narrow the gap between the two regions of the country. The new road will shorten the distance between the two regions by 20 Km. The 134 km road starts from Adi-Guadad, passes through Himbrti, Habela, Che’atat as well as other towns and ends at Aqurdat in Gash-Barka region.
China Shanghai (Group) Corporation for Foreign Economic & Technological Cooperation (SFECO) will complete the first phase of the project, the construction of a 31 km Habela-Che’atat road which covers mountainous steep terrain. The Government of Eritrea awarded the Chinese Company to undertake the designing and construction of this strategic road.
The launching of the construction of the Adi-Guadad- Habela-Chea’tat-Aqurdat was officially celebrated at Habela on 11 October in the presence of high ranking officials of the Government of Eritrea and the Chinese embassy, administrators, community members of Habela village, members of SFECO Company and other invited guests.
Mr. Abrha Asfaha, Minister of Public Works, welcomed the participants to the groundbreaking launching ceremony of the new Adi-Guadad-Aqurdat road project and briefed them on the state of the existing Asmara-Keren road that connects the highlands with the lowlands. The construction of the new road will ease the challenges of transportation of goods and people experienced on the narrow and mountainous topography of the Asmara-Keren route.
According to Mr. Abrha, the width of the new road will be more than 10m paved with asphalt. The total number of structures along this new road line is 10 bridges with a total length of about 510m and 183 slab culverts and the longest bridge is about 140m.
The construction of this road with the collaboration of the Chinese Government will bring the existing ties between the two countries to a new height. In this regard, Mr. Abrha said, “This new road project will strengthen political and economic relationship between the two nations.”
Present at the launching ceremony of the road project, Mr. Young Zigang, Chinese Ambassador to Eritrea, briefed participants on the ever-flourishing diplomatic ties and partnership between the two sisterly countries since 1993.
The Ambassador further noted that the Chinese Government is looking forward to further cement the cooperation with the Eritrean Government in infrastructure construction, which is very important in the new era of peace and development.
The construction of this new road will provide Eritrea with a modern transportation system. The middle and western parts of the country will be connected via the new road. This will definitely boost the socio-economic activities by providing easy access to transportation for agricultural produce and trade activities among the villages and towns along the strategic route. Villages along the route will grow into urban centers and attract investment.
Eritrean and Chinese workers have now set out to make the construction of the strategic road a reality. Through the project the partnership between these two sisterly countries is being enhanced. Sharing of experiences is another aspect of the partnership. A large number of Eritrean workers will be employed in the construction of the project.
The participants of the launching ceremony of the construction of the Adi- Guadad-Aqurdat road have observed the construction facilities that have been put in place at Habela.
The design and construction of the new road is the first of its kind in the country.
As Mr. Abrha specified, the elevation difference between Habela and Che’atat is 1164m. This drastic drop in elevation makes the road project unique and difficult during the designing phase and will be challenging during construction as well.
The double-lane road will make a difference in enhancing the local experience of highway construction and will also improve transportation efficiency.
Habela is located 50 km away from Asmara and is a strategic area that links the Central and Gash-Barka regions through the groundbreaking project. The general contractor, China SEFECO group, has built its station at Habela and is now ready to build the two-lane asphalt highway.