PM Kvirikashvili opens new section of Georgia’s East-West Highway
Thursday, June 9A new section of Georgia’s main transport route - the East-West Highway – has opened.
The 7km section, which was part of the four-lane highway spanning 12 kilometres along the Agara-Zemo Osiauri in central Georgia, was officially opened by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili today along with World Bank’s regional director for the South Caucasus Mercy Tembon and other officials.
The remaining 5km section of the same route will open by the end of 2016.
The Prime Minister spoke about the importance of the road and added it was "great” that the section opened today. He said Georgians and foreign visitors who were attending tonight’s performance of American pop group Maroon 5 in Black Sea coastal city Batumi in western Georgia were now able to use this new section of road.
"We plan to open several other important sections by the end of this year. By the end of 2020 we want all of the main road arteries of Georgia to be completed,” the Prime Minister noted.
Kvirikashvili said some of the roads that were planned to be finished by 2020 included:
• Chumateleti-Argveta section of the East-West Highway;
• A road with tunnels to western Georgia’s mountainous Svaneti region;
• A road linking Kutaisi in western Georgia with Abastumani in the south;
• A road to eastern Georgia’s mountainous Tusheti region;
• A road to western Georgia’s remote Racha region.
The PM stressed Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city in the country’s west, must become a hub that connects all parts of Georgia with each other.
Along with contributing to the country’s economy, the PM said the creation of new roads was important as it contributed to the employment of local residents.
"More than 500 locals are employed only on this [Agara-Zemo Osiauri] road section. It is very important that these people can feed themselves and their families without leaving their homes,” the PM said.
The World Bank Group was actively involved in financing the East-West Highway project. In total, the Bank offered $367 million USD to Georgia to develop the East-West Highway.
The East-West Highway is deemed the country’s main transport route and covers the road from capital Tbilisi all the way to the other side of the country and the Black Sea resort town Batumi via Poti.
In February this year, Georgia’s Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri and the World Bank’s regional director for the South Caucasus Mercy Tembon signed an agreement on the East-West Highway Corridor Improvement Project.
Project details published by the World Bank on its official webpage said the development objectives of the East-West Highway Corridor Improvement Project for Georgia were to:
• Reduce road user costs along the East-West highway corridor section upgraded under the project; and
• Strengthen the capacity of the Roads Department of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development to respectively manage the road network.
Georgian company Black Sea Group was carrying out the construction works together with Kuwaiti company Copri Construction Enterprises.
This road section is part of the Silk Road project that links Europe and Asia and is the fastest transit road to China. (Agenda.ge)