||Georgia,United States : World Bank Continues to Support Upgrading Georgias Major Transport Route
||The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a EUR 16.9 million equivalent Additional Financing for the East-West Highway Corridor Improvement Project for Georgia. In addition to the approved loan, the project includes co-financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Government of Georgia. The projects goals are to reduce road user costs along the Corridor section upgraded under the project, and strengthen the capacity of the Roads Department under the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure.
This Additional Financing will support the construction of a new dual carriageway from Chumateleti to Khevi, including 21 bridges, two new tunnel and the construction of the second tube of Rikoti Tunnel for the west to east traffic direction. It will support scaling-up of activities initiated under the original project to contribute towards completion of the East-West Highway corridor upgrade and support the Roads Department to ensure the sustainability of road investments.
This project will contribute to the completion of the transport infrastructure backbone in Georgia. It will bring the East-West Highway up to European design standards and improve the level of service through the provision of key Intelligent Transport System (ITS) activities. Road safety improvements will also reduce the huge annual economic losses associated with road accidents. Once completed, the East-West Highway from Tbilisi to Batumi via Poti will provide direct access to 2.2 million people or more than half of the total population of Georgia.
The primary project beneficiaries are road users. They will benefit from the upgrading and planned road safety improvements through: (i) better road quality and level of service; (ii) avoiding or deferring costly congestion expected on the basis of mid-term traffic projections; (iii) better road safety through new alignments and the Khashuri bypass, which allows users to avoid hazardous crossing of urban areas by heavy transit traffic; and (iv) savings derived from reduced transport costs.
The East-West Highway Corridor Improvement Project is a central piece in the Government's strategy of transforming Georgia into a regional transport and logistics hub. The project will directly contribute to economic development by reducing transportation costs and linking rural communities and their agricultural products to Tbilisi and other urban centers, said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.
"The project, co-financed with EIB, will strengthen the capacity of the Roads Departments Intelligent Transport System Unit that will monitor traffic and road conditions and provide real-time information to road users to travel safely and smoothly along the East West Highway corridor, said Mustapha Benmaamar, World Bank Lead Transport Economist and the Task Team Leader for the project.
The East West Highway Corridor has wider development impacts on Georgias economy. Its completion is estimated to contribute to an increase of real GDP by around 3 percent. This will also positively affect incomes of all types of households, including the incomes of the two lowest quintiles. It will also contribute to improving Georgias logistic performance and therefore help Georgia in its aspiration to become a regional transport hub. World Bank commitments to Georgia since 1992 total approximately US$ 2.8 billion.
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