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WHERE DO THE ROADS LEAD TO?

Analysis Materials 13 December 2005 12:05

At present the majority of highways in Azerbaijan are in unsatisfactory level, as thousand kilometers-long roads in the country work in over-load regime, while the city streets and avenues fully exhausted their discharge capacity in �rush hours’. One of the reasons, conditioning the existing situation, is the absence of the equipment of the road economy, road technique and different property in the necessary level. According to the Road-Transport Services Department of the Transport Ministry, the total length of roads under exploitation is 18,799km, of which 4,577km are of republican significance, whereas 14,222km of local significance, without Baku. The Department itself manages and serves to 18,723km-long motor roads throughout the country.

Judging the last decree by the President on measures on construction and repair of motor roads, one can suppose that it was resolved to bring the roads in the country in order. To ensure further intensification and efficient implementation of the work on construction, maintenance, refurbishment and use of motorways the Cabinet of Minister is committed to design a draft State Program on renewal and development of the network of motorways in 2006-2015. It is planned to grant the Transport Ministry with 70bn manats for the construction and purchase of necessary facilities and road technique and their transference to the motorways exploitation units by late 2005.

Besides, some measures are taken to prevent traffic congestions in the capital city. In particular, it planned to establish a system on the automated traffic management. Special devices will be installed in 8 junctions with heavy traffic, which enables to regulate the work of traffic lights. The plans also include projects on expansion and upgrade of roads, the construction of two-storey, while in necessity, three-storey bridges in the central streets with regard to remove the traffic jams.

The same time considerable survival was observed in the sphere of development of big transport projects jointly with the international organizations. The implementation of the project on construction of the automobile route beyond Baku will start soon at the expense of the credits to be provided by the Kuwaiti Fund for Development ($14.6m) and the Arab Fund for Development Abu-Dhabi ($10m).

The project on modernization and reconstruction of the 60 km section from Sumgayit to Zarat settlement of the highway will be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The bank will allocate the $100m credit for 15 years with 3-year grace period and annual LIBOR+1%. The rest part of the section will be financed by the Czech Eximbank, which granted $180m credit for 14 years with 4-year grace period and annual LIBOR+0.6%. The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $280m.

Meanwhile, the discussion with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on the financing of the reconstruction of the Yevlakh-Ganja highway is underway. The length of the Yevlakh-Ganja highway comprises 88.8 km. The value of the reconstruction comprises $58 million. The ADB plans to approve a $52m credit for the project on construction of part of automobile roads Yevlakh вЂ" Ganja and Gazakh вЂ" Georgian border. The total length of the highway comprises 520km, the total value - approximately $300m.

Moreover, the section of the highway Baku-Alat was reconstructed at expense of the $16m state fund in 2001, the work on the Alat-Hajigabul section was also completed at expense of the Islam Development Bank and the Kuwait Fund allocated $36m, the work on the Hajigabul-Kurdamir section started from May 2005 at expense of European Bank of Reconstruction and Development in the amount of $40m. The Kurdamir-Georgian border section will be financed at expense of the Islam Development Bank and Kuwait Fund.

The work on establishment of the international transport logistic center in Azerbaijan will started in 2006. The project will be financed by the European Commission within the TRACECA program. The implementation term of the project is 2 years.

The World Bank (WB) transport mission set today to discussions of the Alayt вЂ" Astara highway (from Baku till the border with Iran) rehabilitation project at the Transport Ministry of Azerbaijan.

The government of Azerbaijan plans to draw credit resources in the amount of up to $390 million for this road project implementation. Funding will be performed from several sources. From the total amount of loans of about $230-240 million the World Bank plans to allocate some $110-120 million to the Azerbaijani side. The Azerbaijan’s government plans to sign the loan agreement with WB in the shortest time.

The project’s Feasibility Study has been prepared by the Iranian Basilo company. At the result of the works done the highway’s length reduced for 45 km, till 268 km. The experts of the Basilo company are currently continuing preparation of the highway’s engineering project.

In general, the country moves forward in this direction. The perspective projects promise the drivers positive emotions from a speedy riding via the high-quality roads with excellent coverings. The most important is to move forward and apply the last achievements by the international community.

Many countries actively use a practice of commercial automobile toads. For instance, a network of commercial highways is widely spread in France. The first commercial roads have appeared in the UK and Germany. Such a system could be established in Azerbaijan as well.

The necessity of the construction of the commercial motorways is motivated with unloading more difficult and strategically important sections of the transport highways. The injection of the transport fees is considered in the West as more �efficient and self-supporting tool for organization of the traffic, implementing the function of optimal distribution of the schedule via parallel routes".

For the time being, prior to applying such alluring opportunities in Azerbaijan, it is necessary to allow the drivers high-quality use of �free similar ones’. The point is that only rich people can use commercial highways and benefit the system on orienteering during the traffic jams, whilst the rest will have to bear multi-km traffic congestions and continue riding over holes.

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