Construction of Bridge at Baku Bay Postponed

Business Materials 8 October 2007 12:07

Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend I.Khalilova / The construction of a highway bridge in Baku Bay, proposed by the South Korean consortium STX to the Azerbaijani Transport Ministry, may be possible after 2010, the head of the Transport Policy & Economic Department of the Transport Ministry, Sadraddin Mammadov said.

"At present, this project is being analyzed in Government. Should the project meet approval, it may be sanctioned after 2010," Mammadov said.

The Government sets out priorities for the implementation of road projects. Initially it is necessary to eliminate traffic jams and unemployment and create new jobs. Afterwards, it will be possible to carry out such projects on the establishment of alternative roads.

"Taking into consideration of plans on the organization of the Olympic Games in Azerbaijan in 2016 and measures taken for the development of tourism, the implementation of the project gains significance", the official at the Transport Ministry assured.

Several routes are being discussed - from Zikh settlement to Shixov bay or from Nargin island to Garadagh region. The Korean company offered to construct a toll bridge, allowing for a return in investments to STX while the bridge is up and running. After approximately fifteen to twenty years the bridge will be handed over to the Azerbaijani Government for further management.

In compliance with the project proposed by STX, the government will not cover the cost of its implementation. Although the bridge will be a toll, the charges will be minor compared to the savings in time and fuel users will reap by using the bridge. The charges will be paid by a card or by a special ticket displayed inside the vehicles, from which the sum will be deducted electronically from the vehicle owner's account.

The amount of investment required for constructing the bridge has not yet been decided, for it will depend on the selected route. The length of the bridge may vary between 15km to 29km.