ADB sanctions $300m loan to upgrade East-West Highway in Georgia
Construction industry news : The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a loan of $300 million towards the construction of a four-lane, 12km road on the East-West Highway between Khevi and Ubisia in Georgia.
The cost of the East-West Highway upgrade project is $429.5 million, of which $129.5 million will be covered by the Government of Georgia. The East-West Highway upgrade project is anticipated to be completed in 2024.
Georgia, which is located at intersection of Europe and Asia, has turned out to be major node for regional trade flows.
Valerie Lisack – ADB Senior Transport Specialist for Central and West Asia said: “Georgia’s geographic location puts the country at the heart of the trading and logistics activities not only in Central Asia, but the rest of Europe and Asia, which opens up a lot of growth opportunities for the economy.
“ADB’s support will enhance connectivity within the country and the region, increasing economic activity, while also improving road safety.”
The East-West Highway, which presently carries nearly 60% of Georgia’s foreign trade, is one of the six important corridors that link member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) even though it represents only around 2% of the Caucasus nation’s entire road network length.
The 410km East-West Highway serves close to 13,000 vehicles per day with a traffic growth rate of more than 10% per year since 2005.
ADB said that the East-West Highway is not only crucial for the connectivity of international trade between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, but also is necessary for Georgia’s access to the global market and for its socioeconomic development.
Along with the construction of the 12 km, four-lane road, primarily on a new alignment, the East-West Highway Improvement Project also aims at improving road safety in the area by awareness campaigns.
The project has included the awareness campaign because 20% of all road crashes in Georgia, which cost 1-2% of the gross domestic product, take place on the East-West Highway. The awareness program will be targeting more than 70% of the local population. In order to ensure the operations and maintenance of the road infrastructure, relevant officials and other stakeholders will also be trained.
The project also supports ADB’s continuous effort to help the Government of Georgia in upgrading the East-West Highway.
In June, the ADB-financed Kobuleti Bypass was inaugurated. In March 2017, both ADB and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, each co-financed an amount of $114 million for the construction of Batumi Bypass.