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Overpass on central streets causes disputes

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, September 29
Two-way traffic might be restored at Pushkin Street. The city’s administration is planning to restore the two-way road from Liberty Square to Baratashvili Bridge. The issue has caused heated debate in Tbilisi’s Sakrebulo. The United National Movement members claim that the project might affect a historical monument in the centre of the city. However, Tbilisi’s leadership emphasizes that the overpass will be constructed anyway with the aim to lighten heavy traffic.

The total cost of the overpass is 2 million GEL, according to the Tbilisi Sakrebulo. They inform that the construction process will start in 2014 and will be completed in 2015.

Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania states that the overpass will not damage the city’s image. According to him, the issue was discussed with specialists and various matters have already been taken into account. Regarding the remains of the ancient fortress in the city centre, Narmania said that the site has already lost the image of historical heritage as cement was poured on it under the previous government.

“However, the site will be available for tourists anyway, as we have already discussed and agreed on the issue. The overpass will not damage or overshadow it,” Narmania said.

Members of the United National Movement do not share their aspirations. Sevdia Ugrekhelidze states that the site is of historical and tourist importance and the overpass will damage it.

Head of the Amenities Service Avtandil Sudadze states that most of the activities near the site will be undertaken by hand. He claims that diminishing traffic in the area is vitally important for the city and especially for old, damaged houses nearby that are at risk owing to the heavy traffic.

Former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava released a letter from prison, where he claims that there is a tunnel under the place, where the overpass is through to be built on.

Archeologist Merab Dzneladze believes that the issue should have been discussed with specialists in depth, as the overpass appears to overshadow the historical part of the city.

Tbilisi Mayor states that a tender will be announced shortly for constructing the overpass.