BAKU (Trend)–Construction on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway continues unabated and will be put into operation according to schedule, a top official from the Azerbaijani Railway CJSC said this week, reported the Azeri Trend news agency.
“There are no problems in the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which will connect Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey,” CJSC’s Chief Engineer, Gurban Nazirov, said on September 7, commenting on rumors about a delay with the railway’s construction and a one year postponement of the official opening date set for 2011.
“There are no problems with finishing constructing of the railway. It will be put into operation in 2011 as was initially planned,” Nazirov said.
The Azerbaijani State Oil Fund has allocated 27.1 million manat ($337.8 million) as a preferential loan to construct the Georgian section of the railway, the head of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund, Shahmar Movsumov told Trend.
Azerbaijan plans to allocate $200 million from the Azerbaijani State Oil Fund to reconstruct the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route. Over $280,000 was transferred for the current maintenance of the ‘Marabda-Kars Railway’ OJSC. This money has been earmarked for wages and writing materials.
The first installment of 20.7 million manat was given in 2007, while 5.3 million manat was given by the Azerbaijani State Oil Fund to finance the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in Georgia in 2008.
A new 105-kilometer-branch of railway is planned to be constructed within the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project; 76 kilometers will stretch through Turkey and 29 kilometers through Georgia. Moreover, a 183-kilometer section of railways – Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi – will be reconstructed in Georgia to increase capacity to up to 15 million tons of freight per year. A train transition station, changing trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to European tracks is planned to be constructed in Akhalkalaki.