New transport corridor emerges in defiance of tanks
By M. Alkhazashvili
Thursday, August 21The Russian aggression, the occupation of a considerable part of Georgia’s territory and the tank barricade of the major highway connecting Tbilisi with the Black Sea ports Poti and Batumi have put the problems of Georgia’s transport communications systems on the public agenda.
After the Rose Revolution the country took serious steps to improve the condition of its roads. Particular attention was given to the central highway which is increasingly carrying out a transit function. Some progress has already been made in constructing a modern motorway system, and some parts of this are already functioning.
The Russian aggression set out to damage infrastructure of vital importance to Georgia. Russia wanted to completely undermine Georgia’s credentials as a transit country. By blocking the highway and blowing up the railway Russia has divided the country in two. However there is now an alternative route from Tbilisi to the West of Georgia. This is the Tbilisi-Tsalka-Bakuriani-Khashuri-Zestaponi corridor, which connects these major cities and then links onward to the rest of the country.
This road is in a very bad condition at present, because thousands of cars already use it and the traffic is very heavy for that level of road. However it is now begging to prove its worth as an alternative route for those isolated by the tank barricade. As soon as Russia withdraws Georgia should put the upgrading of this alternative route on its priority agenda. The gain will be twofold. The local population will have better roads and the rest of the country will also have an alternative route to travel and do business along. Agriculture and tourism are two areas which would particularly benefit from the serious development of this route.