Georgia Spends GEL 397 Million on Road Infrastructure in 2019

GEL 397,838,275 ($136,615,595) was spent on road infrastructure improvement works in Georgia in the first half of 2019, which is 36.4% more than the same period last year.

The information was released by the Department of Roads during the presentation of the 6-month report of the agency’s activities in 2019.

The Roads Department plans the rehabilitation of 550 kilometers of road by the end of the year, which is twice more compared to the same period of 2018.

Moreover, in 2019, a total of 228 tenders were announced in six months and contracts totaling GEL 541,103,278 ($185,812,052) were signed.

Maia Tskitishvili, Georgia’s first Vice-Prime Minister and the Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development, said the budget of the Roads Department has increased 3.5-fold since 2012, adding GEL 1.5 ($5.15) billion will be spent on road infrastructure this year.

“This money will be used for the construction of highways, as well as the rehabilitation of internal and local roads,” she said.

The Minister noted it is very important not only to implement high quality and timely road projects, but also to plan them in such a way that infrastructure development can contribute to the development of the regions too.

“Communication between local and central authorities has improved in the state structures, and we are also working in coordination with counterpart agencies to prioritize those roads that will make a particular contribution to the development of this or that region. Besides exploiting the country's international logistics potential, road infrastructure should play a major role in the development of very interesting regions of our country,” Tskitishvili said.

The Vice Prime Minister thanked the international partners, contractors and local authorities for their effective work in large and small scale projects.

Chairman of the Roads Department Irakli Karseladze stated at the presentation of the report that to date, more than 9,000 people are already working on the construction of highways as well as other rehabilitation and prevention projects.

“The East-West Highway is our main challenge, which starts at the Red Bridge and stretches 430 kilometers to Sarpi: 200 kilometers of the highway has already been built, while 140 kilometers of road is currently being constructed, and the agreement on the first section of Rikoti will be signed by next week,” he explained.

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze also delivered a speech at the presentation in which he noted the main and most critical infrastructure projects in the country will be completed by 2022.

“We want to use the transit and tourist potential of our country; secondly - we want to reduce travel time and make [transportation] more comfortable and safer; and thirdly – this is an effective way to fight against poverty,” the PM said.

Bakhtadze singled out two projects, which are of historical significance the Rikoti and Kobi-Gudauri highways. Construction of the latter, according to Bakhtadze, will begin by the end of the year. At the Rikoti Pass section, at present, works are being carried out on two sections, while the remaining two sections are in the final stage of tender procedures.

He added that the Kobi-Gudauri cable car is one of the most important infrastructure projects implemented recently in Georgia and did much to advance the village of Kobi.

“Our citizens, resting in mountainous regions, have the opportunity to see with their own eyes how the reconstruction process is going,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said Georgia had never seen such a pace and scale of infrastructure development as it has now.

He said in addition to highways, it is a very important to build roads in all settlements.

“I promise society that we will build roads of proper standard step by step in every settlement in Georgia,” he added.

Bakhtadze underlined this year's budget was increased by 20% for infrastructure development. He noted that infrastructure development allows Georgia to make its economy more competitive and create new jobs.

By Thea Morrison

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15 August 2019 16:32