Baku-Kars Railway Construction To End In 2012


Aug 3, 2009

BAKU (Combined Sources)-Georgian and Azeri officials Monday said that
despite some delays, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which was slated
to be operational by 2010, will be completed by 2012.

The railway, a joint project between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan,
envisions linking the three countries and provide a transport route to
Turkey from Central Asia and Asia. The proposed project was initiated
when US and European countries refused to finance similar projects,
citing the exclusion of Armenia from the route.

Construction of the railway began in November 2007, with Turkey and
Azerbaijan both funding the route in their respective countries
and Azerbaijan providing a $200 million loan to Georgia for the
construction of the 29-kilometer that will stretch through Georgia.

Bidzina Bregadze, Director of Georgia’s Marabda-Kartsahi Railway
Company said that recent events in Georgia, including last year’s
war with Russia had impeded the transfer of funds and slowed down
the process.

There also appeared to be technical problems forcing the rail link
to be rerouted since an original tunnel site was identified as an
avalanche route and deemed dangerous.

The 76-kilometer railway is estimated to cost $600 million.

The Georgian stretch of the railroad will go through the
predominantly-Armenian region of Akhalkalak in Samtskhe Javakheti.