YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The construction of the first 15-kilometer-long section of the North-South highway has started in Nagorno Karabakh.
The 169-kilometer-long highway–which is of strategic importance to the country–will be constructed on the funds raised by the Armenian Fund.
The first section of the highway runs from the village of Astashen–Askeran region–to the river Khachenaget. The section is being constructed by the "Artsakh motorway" SCJSC which won the tender among 15 contractor organizations. In a month–the results of the second tender are expected to be summed up. The winner will start the construction of the second–a 10-kilometer-long section–from the settlement Karmir Shuka (Martuni region) to the village of Drakhtik (Gadrud region).
The highway construction project is expected to be prepared before this autumn–its estimated cost being $25 million.
$3.5 million were raised during a telethon held by the Armenia Fund in Los Angeles last November. This sum is sufficient for the construction of only 30 km. of the highway. Late in 2000–the "Hayastan" fund plans to organize another telethon–and the Armenian communities will be able to participate in it.