Georgia, Tbilisi, April 26 / Trend, N. Kirtzkhalia /
Tunnel construction within the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project will resume in May, Georgian Economic Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said today.
"As far as I know, tunnel construction must resume in May," he said. "The problems that existed in relation to the protected areas were resolved during the construction process."
He stressed that construction is under way now on the remaining sections of the road.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being built on the basis of a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish inter-state agreement. Azerbaijan provided a loan worth $775 million for the construction of the Georgian section. Funding for this project from the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is carried out according to a presidential decree on the 'Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project' dated February 21, 2007. By January 1, 2013, at least $431.3 million had been allocated since the beginning of the funding of the project.
Plans exist to construct a new 105 kilometre branch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway will be reconstructed in Georgia which will increase its capacity to expand to 15 million tons of cargo per year. It is planned to build a centre in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing train tracks in Georgia to the European system.
Peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo. This figure will initially be at the level of one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
In the future, with the completion of the Marmaray project (construction of a tunnel under the Bosporus), a way to Europe will be ensured through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.