Mogadishu roads get much needed upgrades

By Dahir Jibril in Mogadishu

October 03, 2013

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Construction on a 23-kilometre paved road linking Mogadishu to Aden Adde International Airport is under way and drivers are starting to notice the improvements.

  • A convoy of the African Union Mission in Somalia drives down the main road leading to Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu on August 5, 2013. [Stuart Price/AFP]

    A convoy of the African Union Mission in Somalia drives down the main road leading to Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu on August 5, 2013. [Stuart Price/AFP]

The project is in its second month and is expected to be complete by November, Benadir administration spokesman Mohamed Yusuf told Sabahi.

More than 380 people are working on building the road that joins the airport to Fiat Circle, and both Somali and Turkish engineers are supervising the project, he said.

The project is part of an agreement to establish Mogadishu and Istanbul as twin cities and to rebuild all of Mogadishu's roads to modern standards, Yusuf said.

Yusuf thanked the people and government of Turkey for taking part in Mogadishu's reconstruction, especially in light of al-Shabaab's deadly bombing of the Turkish embassy annex in Mogadishu on July 27th.

Ali Hassan, a 28-year-old construction worker, said he and his fellow road crewmates earn $300 a month, which has greatly improved the situation for his own family.

"I am very happy because this is the first time I am taking part in a common good reconstruction project," Hassan said, adding he wants to help bring the capital, decimated by two decades of war, back to life. "I want to work tirelessly [to rebuild] the country just like our fathers worked tirelessly before us to build it".

Drivers in Mogadishu said they are excited about the efforts to improve the city's roads.

"It is the first time that I have driven a vehicle on a modern road in the capital," said bus driver Farah Abdi, 45, after testing blocks of the road near the airport that have been completed and opened. "I am hopeful that the continuation of this project will eliminate the damage that vehicles sustain on the roads."

Taxi driver Hussein Abdullahi Mohamed agreed, saying the new roads will dramatically improve the overall driving experience and ease financial burdens most drivers face due to car repairs that include constant tire replacements.

The new clearly marked lanes are also helping easing motorists' fears of car accidents, as drivers can easily use the demarcations on the road to safely pass vehicles.

"Before there was no [safe] way for cars to pass one another on either side of the road, left or right," he said. "But that is now possible due to the ongoing construction of the airport road, which is one of the roads taxis use the most."

Modern road reconstruction in Mogadishu is a good sign of development, fellow taxi driver Mohamed Ahmed said.

"This modern renovation of roads in Mogadishu gives much hope to many people," Ahmed, 32, said. "We are seeing an increase in the number of cars in the city and that is because of the improving security [situation] and the rehabilitation of roads with modern tarmac. We are hoping this road construction project will be expanded country-wide."

Rebuilding Mogadishu's roads will also contribute to Somalis abroad returning home, said Asha Abdullahi, a 29-year-old who studied business and management at the University of Mogadishu.

"Some people were not optimistic that the country could be rebuilt easily, but this is proof that reconstruction of the country, specifically the capital, can be done easily if security returns," she said.

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Reader's Comments

  • said hasan dalel
    November 3, 2013 @ 02:52:31AM

    asalamu aleikum to all somalis and others i want to thank ALLAH AND ALSO THE TURKISH GOVERMENT AND ITS PEOPLE i want to thank the good somalis who are working for their country peace love and brotherhood mogadishu shines again alhamdulilah by said hasan dalel mbale Uganda

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