Chinese contractor may construct major highway project in Iran

Tehran, Iran, May 20

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

A Chinese contractor may construct the remaining sections of Iran's Tehran-Shomal (northern provinces) freeway.

Iranian MP Qasem Ahmadi Lasheki said on May 20 that the Roads and Urban Development Ministry is negotiating with Bonyad (Mostazafan Fourndation) to construct the remaining sections of the freeway, but if the talks fail to reach any conclusion, Chinese firm with take care of the project.

"Tehran-Shomal freeway is among the top priorities of the ministry," he said.

He said that based on current year's budget, some 168 million euro and one trillon rials (some $33.3 million based on the exchange rate of USD at the free market) has been allocated for the project.

Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Ali Nourzad said on January 21 that Finnish investors are ready to invest in Iran's Tehran-Shomal (northern provinces) freeway once the US-led sanctions on the country are lifted, the Iranian ISNA News Agency reported.

"The Roads and Urban Development Ministry plans to use the full capacity of the private sector for renewing the country's roads and infrastructures," he explained.

"Currently Iran is not able to use European investors in roads and transportation projects," Nourzad said.

Deputy Director of Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company, Hassan Ahmadi-Nouri, said on January 7 that the first section of Tehran-Shomal (northern provinces) freeway will come on stream in two years, the ISNA News Agency reported on January 7.

"The 32-kilometer section of the freeway will come on stream in 18-24 months," Ahmadi-Nouri said.

He went on to note that Bonyad (Mostazafan Foundation) is carrying out the project. China's SPA Company was previously in charge of construction of the first section of the freeway.

"The first section of the project is 42 percent complete," he said at the time.

Iran's Khatam-ol-Anbia headquarters head, Abdollah Abdollaian, on December 14 denied the rumors that the headquarters will withdraw from the construction operation of Tehran-Shomal (northern provinces) freeway, the Mehr News Agency reported.

"We recently held talks with the roads and urban development ministry officials and they denied the rumors as well," he said. "If the needed funds are provided, Khatam-ol-Anbia headquarters will be able to finish the project in 36 months."

Khatam-ol-Anbia headquarters has carried out many oil and gas projects in the country.

Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Ahmad Majidi said on December 2 that Iran's Khatam-ol-Anbia has withdrawn from the construction operation of Tehran-Shomal (northern provinces) freeway.

"The Bonyad (Mostazafan Fourndation) also will not take part in the construction operation of the second and third sections of the highway, except for Alborz tunnel in the second section," the Tasnim News Agency quoted Majidi as saying.

He went on to note that the sections two and three of the project will come on stream at the estimated cost of 80 trillion rials (some $2.66 billion based on the price of USD at the free market).

"The ministry will soon choose a contractor for the 71-kilometer long project in a fair bid," he said.

Bonyad (Mostazafan Fourndation) representative, Rahmatollah Sadeqian, said back in May that the Roads and Urban Development ministry has not fulfilled its financial commitments regarding the project, the Mehr News Agency reported.

He went on to note that ministry owes over 6.8 trillion rials (some $226.6 million) to the Bonyad, he said, noting that according to the Majlis (parliament) Research Center, the ministry owes over 63 trillion rials (approximately $2.1 billion) to all the contractors.

Bonyad has been in charge of carrying out the section 2 and 3 of the project, but in April the Roads and Urban Development ministry announced that it has chosen a new contractor for the mentioned sections.

Former Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Ahmad Sadeqi, announced on April 13 that with then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's order, Iran's Khatam-ol-Anbia headquarters will construct sections two and three of Tehran-Shomal freeway.

The construction plan of Tehran-Shomal freeway was started in 1997.

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