The longest tunnel to the border with Russia began to be built in Georgia

The Kvesheti-Kobi section is a bypass route of the Kobi-Gudauri section, where in winter there is often a danger of avalanches

TBILISI, 11 Jun – Sputnik. Construction of a 23-kilometer road and a nine-kilometer tunnel has begun on the Kvesheti-Kobi section, which is an important part of the North-South highway modernization project, the Georgian Ministry of Infrastructure said in a statement.

The Kvesheti-Kobi section is a bypass route of the Kobi-Gudauri section, where in winter there is often a danger of avalanches, which is why the road is closed. The construction of a tunnel on the Georgian Military Highway linking Georgia and Russia will allow Armenian carriers to no longer get stuck on their way to the Verkhniy Lars checkpoint for days.

Within the framework of the project, it is planned to build a two-lane asphalt concrete road, five bridges, five tunnels and repair one bridge. Among them – the construction of the largest tunnel in Georgia, nine kilometers long and 15 meters in diameter under the Cross Pass. It will be one of the longest tunnels and one of the most complex engineering structures in Europe. The work will be carried out by the Chinese company China Railway 23rd Bureau Group Co.

According to the ministry, the drilling equipment was specially manufactured – a Tunnel Boring Machine. The equipment features minimal vibration, which ensures a safe construction process and minimal environmental impact.

According to the project, the new road zone will include the villages of Kvesheti, Arakhveti, Zakatkari, Beniani-Begoni, Sviana-Rostiani, Mugure, Tskere and Kobi.

Due to the difficult climatic conditions, the inhabitants of the Khada Gorge are cut off from the outside world for about 100 days a year and it is unsafe to travel on the existing road. Heavy snowfall or avalanches often close the road and prevent distribution, ambulance and transit vehicles from moving.

With the construction of the new Kvesheti-Kobi road, it will be possible to safely move around the region for all types of vehicles at any time of the year.

In addition to solving the problem of the local population, the new road is also important in economic terms – it will increase the transit potential of the country, new tourist routes will be created, thereby providing residents with new opportunities.

Additionally, a five-kilometer road to Gudauri and a tourist center will be built, which will make travel comfortable and safe and increase the tourism potential of the region.

The length of the existing road is 34 kilometers. After the completion of the project, the distance will be reduced by 11 kilometers, and the travel time by 1 hour.

The total cost of the project for the construction of the new Kvesheti-Kobi road is 1.2 billion lari. The construction is financed by the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the construction process is monitored by the international supervisory company UBM. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2024.

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