The expensive and long-delayed Addis Ababa ring road project is set to begin the final phase of construction, for the section stretching from the Addisu Gebeya area to the Megenagna Terminal. On announcing the plans, the Addis Ababa City Road Authority (AACRA) also detailed the controversial demolition of the famous Shiromeda market center, well known as a major tourist spot.
Residential houses and businesses will also be removed as part of the ongoing road construction. The Shiromeda marketing center is one of the biggest in the capital, exclusively serving locally-made traditional attire. It sees thousands of visitors each day, including sellers, buyers and weavers, and many micro and small enterprises depend on the existence of this frenetic market place. Apart from being a business center, Shiromeda is regarded as a prime tourist location in Addis Ababa, a place where many foreign visitors seek to purchase original cotton-made clothes or to see the traditional weavers in action. The construction of Addis Ababa's ring road was initiated in 1998 and had a planned completion date of 2003.
With a view of implementing the city master plan and enhancing peripheral development, currently 37km of the ring road has been completed. However, the road is still more than ten years behind the original schedule, for a variety of reasons as claimed by the Authority. According to both ACCRA and the city administration, the clearing of existing infrastructure such as water pipes, telecommunication and power lines have impeded the project.