ArmInfo. "I have never said about suspending implementation of North-South project, I have only noted that the issue will be discussed and one should not have disseminated non correct statements", the Minister of Transport, Communications and IT Vahan Martirosyan stated after the government session on October 27. According to the Minister suspension of the work is out of question. According to the Minister the work is being conducted according to the schedule. "Construction of Tranche 3, section between Talin and Gyumri, will be finished in 2018", Martirosyan assured.
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. Meanwhile, information was spread in mass media that because of Armenian "traditional corruption" the Spanish company does not manage to conduct construction activities and has decided to leave Armenia. According to the rumors criminal case was initiated against the Spanish company, the Finance Ministry of Armenia confirmed the information. Preliminary investigation is underway.
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.