Several sections of the 52km highway through Georgia’s Rikoti Pass dividing Georgia into its eastern and western parts will open this year, whilst the entire rehabilitation of the Rikoti highway will end by 2023, Georgian Infrastructure Minister Irakli Karseladze said.
The construction works divided into four sections: Chumateleti-Khevi 11.6 km section, Khevi-Ubisa 12.2 km section, Ubisa-Shorapani 13 km section, Shorapani-Argveta 14.7 km section.
The two-kilometre, two-lane Khevi-Ubisa section of the highway opened in September last year and included six bridges and three tunnels.
Construction works to widen the highway into four lanes have been actively underway, including works on 97 bridges, of which 30 have been built. As of now, 24 out of 51 tunnels have been excavated.
The works aim to increase the speed limit from around 60kph in places to 120kph along the route.
The ₾2.6 billion-worth project employed over 4,000 people, of which about 68 per cent are Georgian citizens.
As a result of the road upgrade, Irakli Karseladze claims the East-West road corridor would be even more “attractive” for international shipping, contributing to the country’s economic growth.