The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of 415 million US dollars to finance the construction of a new highway in Georgia along the North-South Caucasian Road Corridor, agenda.ge has reported.
According to the ADB, the Georgian government’s Kvesheti–Kobi Road Project will be the first in a series of upgrades of the Caucasian Road Corridor, a vital transit route for Georgia, Armenia and regional trading partners, connecting Central Asia with Europe and East Asia.
The 23-km highway will be built as a bypass to provide a safer and faster alternative to tourists, local residents and freight trucks in the Caucasus.
“A high-quality road network is essential for the growth and development of Georgia, which is located at the center of transit and trade routes linking Europe and Asia,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Werner Liepach. “The new bypass road will greatly improve the North–South Corridor and help enhance trade and regional connectivity, as well as increase the number of visitors in the region, which is home to world-class natural and cultural heritage assets,” he added.
As part of the project, five tunnels, six bridges and the corresponding infrastructure will be built, and will also boast a multipurpose visitor centre “as a hub for tourism activities to enhance women’s access to economic opportunities.”
“The bypass and connecting roads will provide these communities with year-round access to hospitals, schools, and other vital services,” said ADB Transport Specialist for Central and West Asia Kamel Bouhmad, adding that the visitor centre “will focus on community-based tourism to increase the benefits the road will bring.”
The whole project is estimated to cost 558.6 million US dollars, with co-financing of 60 million US dollars anticipated from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and 83.6 million US dollars from the Georgian government.