Features

Another leap forward on the new Silk Road in Georgia

Once it is upgraded, transit, trade and tourism will flow. The old highway between Tbilisi and Rustavi causes frequent congestion and safety concerns both for commuters and long-distance travellers from Azerbaijan and Armenia to Georgia’s Black Sea ports or Turkey, and vice versa. A new project – part of the EU supported international transport programme TRACECA, or the New Silk Road – will upgrade the road to international standards, and ease the pain.

Tbilisi – “This road is very congested and accidents are frequent,” says Zurab Tvalmikhelashvili, driver of a Tbilisi-Rustavi mini bus. Though the road’s capacity is only 9,000 vehicles, approximately 12,000 automobiles are travelling every day on the Tbilisi-Red Bridge highway, which connects Georgia with the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Due to the poor conditions of the 22km-long Tbilisi-Rustavi section of the East-West highway, driving is allowed at a maximum speed of 80 km/h. To address the problem, the Georgian government is working on a project, which envisions construction of a first category road with a design speed of 120 km/h and four lanes. “Once the highway has been modernized, its capacity will reach 44,000 automobiles per day,” says Mamuka Vatsadze, at the time Head of Transport Policy Department at the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, who has since become Deputy Minister at the same Ministry.
(ENPI Info Centre)

 

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