YEREVAN (Arka)—The construction of a north-south transport corridor across Armenia will be fully completed by 2019, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Transportation Artur Arakelyan has said during a parliamentary discussion of the 2015 draft budget.
Arakelyan said that currently, the construction of two sections of the road — from Artashat to Ashtarak and from Ashtarak to Talin — is underway.
Arakelyan said negotiations with the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) that had pledged earlier a $100 million loan for the project to support its southern section are nearing completion. He said a feasibility study for the southern part of the road is ready and a loan agreement is expected to be signed later this year.
As for speed limits on the road, according to the deputy minister, it will be up to 100 to 110 km per hour. Arakelyan said that on other highways in Armenia, the limit is 90 km per hour and depending on the safety measures at some stretches, more speed restrictions will be imposed.
The draft 2015 state budget earmarks 51.5 billion drams for the transport and communications ministry.
The Armenian government approved in Jan., 2010, an investment program to build the north-south transport corridor, as well as a $500 million framework loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank.
The goal of the project is to upgrade Armenia’s main corridor road as part of a broader thrust to improve connectivity, and boost trade, growth and livelihood opportunities in the Caucasus and Central Asia sub-regions. Funds are being released by the Asian Development Bank periodically through a multi-tranche financing facility.
The transport corridor will stretch from the southern Armenian town of Meghri, on the border with Iran, to Bavra in the north on the border with Georgia. The north-south transport corridor will enable Armenia to mitigate the effects of the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
According to Armenian officials, the cost of building the transport corridor is estimated at $ 1.5 billion.