Wednesday, October 26 2016 15:20
Naira Badalian

Deputy Minister of Transport excludes possibility of suspending North-South highway project

Deputy Minister of Transport excludes possibility of suspending  North-South highway project

ArmInfo. Deputy Minister of  Transport, Communications and IT of Armenia Artur Arakelyan excludes  the possibility of suspending North-South transport corridor  construction project, he stated answering to ArmInfo's  correspondent's question on October 26 on the sidelines of the  two-day discussions within UN "Euro-Asian Transport Links" program.

According to the Deputy Minister, the Minister of Transport,  Communications and Information Technologies needs to get familiar  with the process of implementation of the project, and very soon he  will present his assessment of it. The North-South project is very  significant for Armenia and Arakalelyan noted that there are no  problems related to the project and the process of its  implementation. The problems voiced by mass media are common practice  in any construction process, the Deputy Minister noted. "Tranche 1-  section from Artashat to Ashtarak has been finished in time, the  remaining construction is being held according to the schedule",  Arakelyan noted. The Deputy Minister ensured that there are no  problems with financing of the program. However, for its more  efficient implementation on the current stage discussions are being  held to deepen state-private sector cooperation in order to attract  private funds into construction works on the Southern part of the  project. "The matter concerns Kajaran-Sisian 60km section, where  there is an alternative road and we are actively searching for  investors who will assist to its implementation", Arakelyan stated  recalling that according to the plan two tunnels will be built on the  section, due to which the travel time will be cut by 2.5-3hours with  100km/h permissible speed. 

On October 20 the Minister of Transport, Communication and  Information Technologies Vahan Martirosyan told journalists that the  ministry is assessing the efficiency of construction of the  North-South highway in the territory of Armenia. The Minister noted  that at the current stage the efficiency of both the highway  construction and the North- South project in general is being  assessed. He did not rule out possible replacement of the developer  company and revision of the construction period. "There will be no  abuse during my term in the minister's office, believe me," he said.  Martirosyan pointed out that there is no final conclusion about the  future of the project yet. "I think it is unreasonable to change  anything without conducting the relevant surveys. We are assessing  the efficiency of the project to understand how to continue the  implementation of the project or whether to continue it at all," he  said. 

To recall, in July 2016, when commenting on the "delay of  construction of the Ashtarak-Talin section of the North- South  project," the then Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan said  that the Spanish construction company had become a real evil for the  North-South road corridor. He also stressed that there were problems  also with the Ararat section of the road, whose quality did not meet  the standards. "There are certain problems with this company,  according to the rumors, the funds were misappropriated, please check  into the matter", Abrahamyan instructed.  After the session of the  Government, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Artur  Arakelyan told journalists that Spanish company Corsan Corviam had  already been fined for the improper quality of the construction work.   Based on the results of the inspection, certain divergences were  registered, which were envisaged by the agreement. As a result, the  company was fined at 6 mln USD from the total 70 mln USD to be paid  for the claims related to the quality of the conducted work within  Tranche 1 from Yerevan to Artashat and Ashtarak. "However, there are  no reasons to dissolve the agreement with the company", the deputy  minister stated. 

To note, the North-South 556km highway will be laid via the Armenian  towns of Meghri-Kapan-Goris-Yerevan- Ashtarak- Gyumri-Bavra and enter  the territory of Georgia on Akhaltsikhe-Batumi section, which will  settle some transport problems of Armenia.  This will be a four-lane  motorway of reinforced concrete extending from the Armenian border  and Iran to the Georgian port Batumi. The road corridor will  facilitate improving the road connection with the two neighbors of  Armenia: Iran and Georgia, providing access to international trade  routes and markets.  Armenia raised $500mln loan from the Asian  Development Bank for the project that is estimated at $1 billion.   Eurasian Development Bank is ready to provide $150 million. Armenia  raised $60 million from the European investment Bank.  Due to the  project, the overland communication Europe-Caucasus-Asia will be  improved. The project will be completed by 2019. It will allow  Armenia to soften the consequences of the blockade by Azerbaijan and  Turkey and to join the Black Sea ring highway. Corsan Corvian Spanish  company has won the tenders for construction of the first sections of  the road, Chinese Sinohydro Corporation has won the tender for  construction of the Lanjik-Gyumri section in north of Armenia.


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