ArmInfo. The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of Armenia hopes to start construction work on the 4th tranche of the North-South road construction program next year. This was stated by the deputy acting Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of the Republic of Armenia Christine Ghalechyan.
According to her, the 4th tranche consists of 3 sections (Artashat-Sisian, Sisian-Kajaran, Kajaran-Agarak) with a length of 352 km. For these purposes, $ 3 billion will be allocated from the state budget. Initially, she said, it is planned to begin construction work on the Kajaran-Agarak section, 42 km long. It was noted that this road will be asphalt and not concrete. Design work on this site, according to the Deputy Minister, is coming to an end. "In June, the final detailed design will be ready, and after all the necessary examinations have been carried out, we will announce a tender for construction," she said.
In addition, according to the project, the longest tunnels will be built on this section, in particular Barbushat - 9 km, Kajaran - 7 km. For the construction of the tunnels, as noted by Christine Ghalechyan, $ 300 million will be allocated. "If this project is implemented, the road traffic will be reduced by 2.5 hours," she said. Speaking about the current work under the North-South program, the deputy head of the department said that the next tranche under the North-South program in the Ararat region was completed the day before, a section with a length of 19.6 km.
At the same time, she announced that the Iranian side is interested in participating in construction work under this program.
To recall, on April 14, 2015, the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and the Armenian government signed an agreement on an investment loan from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development in the amount of $ 150 million to finance the construction of the southern section of the North-South road corridor (Tranche-4). The initial timing of the project was delayed and changes were made to the agreement, both in terms of the timing of the project and the terms of loan repayment. Note that the North-South project will reduce the distance from the Iranian border to the Georgian border from 556 to 490 kilometers.
The road will significantly facilitate access to the Black Sea not only for Armenia, but also for Iran. The project is initially funded with a loan from the Asian Development Bank. A corresponding agreement with ADB on the provision of half a billion dollars was signed by the Armenian government in September 2009. Subsequently, the EFSD joined the project, agreeing to provide $ 150 million. It was envisaged that the construction of the highway would be completed first in 2016, then in 2019, but to date, only a part of the work has been completed and the terms of the project have been postponed again by 5-10 years. As a result, a 31 km section was commissioned.
As expected by the Armenian authorities, the program will allow Armenia to play the role of a transit state in the cargo transportation of the countries of the region, as well as to join the Black Sea Ring Highway. Last year, the project was temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.