Construction of two large transportation projects which are said to be unmatched in Iran's road and railway building history started on Saturday.
Grounds were broken for the projects in a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
A six-lane freeway, extending 1,000 kilometers from the central city of Qom to the northeastern city of Mashhad, passing through Tehran, Garmsar, Semnan and Sabzevar, and the Tehran-Mashhad electric train railway were the two projects.
The freeway project is estimated to cost 30,000 billion rials (around $3 billion), the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network reported.
Meanwhile, the railway will connect Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Qom cities.
Roads and Transportation Minister Hamid Behbahani said on the sidelines of the ceremony that such projects are unprecedented in Iran's road and railway building history.
The minister pointed out that when the projects are completed there will annually be 70 percent less fatal accidents, 113 million liters less fuel consumption and 20 million hours less time spent on trips.