North South Highway Construction Continues
It is natural that such a strategically significant project would imply an appropriate high-quality approach and strict requirements. RA Minister of Transport, communication and information technologies Ashot Hakobyan emphasized during the meeting with the media: “Builders, engineers, technical controllers and designers, everyone will be equally responsible for the quality of the road construction. RA Prime Minister announced, “No more poor-quality roads in Armenia!”. We will do everything consistently to have a road that meets the required quality. We have one goal – to open a new page in the North-South Transport Corridor Investment Program.”
Construction works of the first tranche have been completed in 2016, where some defects have been registered. These defects should be abolished by the contractor within the specified deadlines, assured the minister. The contractor was fined almost $ 6 million.
The problem is, that American AASHTO road construction standards (chosen by the financing Asian Development Bank), according to which the North-South should be built, do not meet the climatic conditions of our country. Bronislaw Dimitrievich, the head of the SAFEGE company's work group for road quality control, notes that the problem is not the quality of cement, but that technical specifications have not been adapted to the geographical and climatic conditions of Armenia. Laboratory works are now underway to investigate and resolve all emerging technical issues. Concrete coating roads are predicted to serve for 20-25 years, notes the leading engineer-coordinator of the North-South Road Corridor Investment Program Aram Gugarats.
When will the construction of the North-South Road Corridor be completed? It is impossible to give specific dates, because the financing sources are still unknown for the Tranche 5 and the overwhelming segment of Tranche 4. That is the reason, that RA Minister of Transport, communication and information technologies Ashot Hakobyan considers impossible to announce specific deadlines for road construction completion: “There is no financing for 4 sectors of the road: Artashat-Sisian 175km, that goes through mountain pass and complex relief, therefore, construction of tunnels and bridges is needed, bypass section of Gyumri, 23km, Gyumri-Bavra, 38km and Sisian-Kajaran, 60km. Only when the financing of these sections of the highway is solved and all the design and estimate documentation is prepared, it will be possible to speak about the deadlines. "