A tunnel, located between the Georgian and Turkish border, has been opened on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Azerbaijani Deputy Transport Minister Musa Panahov said May 12.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 14th International Transport, Transit and Logistics Exhibition and 5th Anniversary Caspian International Road Infrastructure and Public Transport Exhibition.
“This is an important step towards the realization of the project, because construction of the tunnel was the most difficult section,” said the deputy minister.
The length of the tunnel is 79 kilometers.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president’s decree ‘On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities’ dated February 21, 2007. SOFAZ has allocated two loans totaling $775 million for the construction of the Georgian section.
A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway’s Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A depot is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.
It is planned to complete the implementation of the project in 2015.
The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.