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Agreement signed on construction of last section of Rikoti Road

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, January 17
The Roads Department has signed a contract for the construction of the last, fourth section of Rikoti Road, a mountain pass that divides Georgia into its eastern and western parts.

The contract was signed with a joint venture - Guizhou Highway Engineering Group and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation - for the construction of the Shorapani-Argveta (F4) section.

The agreement was signed by First Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Chairman of Roads Department Irakli Karseladze, Deputy General Manager of Guizhou Highway Engineering Group Mu Jingwei and Deputy General Manager of China National Technical Import and Export Corporation Yang Bing.

According to the Ministry of Regional Development, the development of the Shorapani-Argveta section of Rikoti Road is financed by the Asia Development Bank by GEL 582 777 310.

14.7 km 4-lane cement-concrete road, 14 bridges, and 12 tunnels will be built on this section and it will take 3 years to complete the works. The 14.7km Shorapani-Argveta section of the road will make it easier for drivers to cross mountainous sections, ravines, and rivers. Currently, the construction works on two sections of Rikoti Road are underway, and mobilization activities have started in one section.

The ministry notes that more than 5,000 people will be employed on the construction of the Rikoti Pass road and 80 percent of those employed will be local residents of Georgia.

A total of 51.6 km of road is planned to be constructed at Rikoti Pass, covering 96 bridges and 53 tunnels.

“The modernisation of the Rikoti road section is crucial for the development of the country's road network and its compliance with modern standards. Upgrading Rikoti will increase the speed and transit capacity of the highway, improve the safety of traffic and reduce travel time,” said the ministry.

Ultimately, the Rikoti Pass is supposed to reduce the distance of the East-West Corridor by 30 kilometers, and travel time from the Red Bridge to Sarpi will be cut to 4-4.5 hours instead of 8 hours.

Bidding company GHEC was founded in 1958 and has 61 years of experience in the construction of roads, bridges, and tunnels. In recent years, the company has built more than 6,000 kilometers of roads, 1,200 bridges, and tunnels. The company has extensive experience in building bridges and tunnels in mountainous areas. China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC) was founded in 1952. It has imported key technologies and equipment for more than 7,000 projects for over 65 years.

After the meeting, Karseladze spoke of the construction of a new railway and road to Anaklia, which is not on the agenda at this stage due to the termination of the contract with Anaklia Development Consortium on January 9.

“The construction of the road and the railway was the obligation that the state had to build specifically for this contract and for this port,” he explained, adding that in 2018-2019 very important projects have been implemented on the existing road and the population of Anaklia has no problem of movement and communication at all.

“This year we are planning to rehabilitate another section of Zugdidi-Anaklia road. Consequently, there is a need for a port in order for us to build a new road. Otherwise, there is a good road for the population of Ganmukhuri, Anaklia already,” Karseladze commented.