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Resume: In accordance with the Government of Georgia’s Four Point Plan developed in 2016, road infrastructure of a value of USD 3.5 billion and more than 800 kilometres in length should have been built and the construction of the east-west highway should have been completed by 2020.

The then Prime Minister of Georgia, during his presentation on Georgia’s Spatial Arrangement Plan, spoke about the planned road infrastructure and stated: “In total, it is planned to build-rehabilitate 1,000 kilometres of roads by the end of 2020 with an estimated value of USD 3.5 billion. Construction of 550 kilometres of the east-west highway will be completed. Three hundred crossing bridges (100 of them as part of the Rikoti road) and 50 road tunnels (40 of them as part of the Rikoti road) will be built.”

In 2017-2018, a total of 66.7 kilometres of roads, including 45 kilometres of highway, were built. Reconstruction work was carried out on 426.6 kilometres of roads and 25 new bridges and three tunnels were built, including the longest bridge and tunnel. In order to fulfil its promise, the Government of Georgia has still to build 733.3 kilometres of road (including 505 kilometres of highway) which is implausible.

The second promise of the Four Point Plant concerns the completion of the east-west high-speed highway by 2020. Of note is that the official information from the government confirms that the aforementioned promise has been broken. The report of the Road Department of Georgia says that the construction of the remaining sections of the high-speed highway will be completed in 2020-2023. In addition, construction contracts for two sections of the Rikoti Pass road, Khevi-Ubisa and Ubisa-Shorapani, have already been signed and the deadline to finish the construction work is the end of 2021 instead of 2020.

Analysis

United National Movement MP, Roman Gotsiridze, stated: “Let us remember the address of the Prime Minister about infrastructure made two years ago from that rostrum, albeit from the Kutaisi rostrum. You were saying that in four years, by 2020, you would have built 800 kilometres of highway, 50 tunnels and 50 bridges.”

Prior to the 2016 Parliamentary elections, the Georgian Dream for Democratic Georgia presented an election programme and the Four Point Plan of the Government of Georgia was part of that programme. That plan envisioned reforms in the economy, education and public administration as well as a spatial arrangement plan for the country.

One of the main components of the spatial arrangement plan was the construction of new highways. In accordance with the Four Point Plan, road infrastructure valued at USD 3.5 billion and more than 800 kilometres in length should have been built and the construction of the east-west highway should have been completed by 2020 (2.7 Development of Infrastructure, page 23).

The then Prime Minister of Georgia, during his presentation on Georgia’s Spatial Arrangement Plan, spoke in details about road infrastructure planned to be completed by 2020 and stated: “In total, there is a plan to build-rehabilitate 1,000 kilometres of roads by the end of 2020 with an estimated value of USD 3.5 billion. Construction of 550 kilometres of the east-west highway will be completed. Three hundred crossing bridges (100 of them as part of the Rikoti road) and 50 road tunnels (40 of them as part of the Rikoti road) will be built.”

The actual budget for the construction-rehabilitation of the road infrastructure in 2017-2018 was over GEL 2 billion. This year GEL 1.3 billion is allocated for road infrastructure work.

In accordance with the report of the Road Department of Georgia, the sections where traffic was fully opened in 2017 are as follows:

  • Zestaponi - Kutaisi bypass road (15 kilometres)
  • Agra - Zemo Osiauri (12 kilometres)
  • Tianeti - Zaridzeebi road (12 kilometres)
  • Nikea Street - Geguti transport knot (4.1 kilometres)
  • In total - 43.1 kilometres.

In addition, as a part of these projects, nine parallel bridges, four pedestrian bridges and four crossing bridges – in total 17 bridges – were built in 2017. In the same year, 208.6 kilometres of roads were rehabilitated.

In accordance with the Road Department of Georgia’s 2018 report, traffic is fully open at the following sections:

  • Kobuleti bypass road (18 kilometres)
  • Stepantsminda - Sameba Church (5.6 kilometres)
  • In total - 23.6 kilometres.

Eight bridges, including the longest bridge as part of the Kobulet bypass road project which spans 1,180 metres (prior to that, 800-metre long parallel bridges over the Liakhvi River near Gori were the longest ones), were built in 2018. In the same year, 218 kilometres of roads were also rehabilitated.

Therefore, in total 66.7 kilometres of new road, including 45 kilometres of highway, were built in 2017-2018 and 426.6 kilometres of roads were rehabilitated. Twenty-five bridges, including the longest one, were built in the reporting period. In addition, a 1.7 kilometre-long tunnel was built in the Dariali Valley. Since the construction of the Rikoti tunnel in 1950, tunnel construction on a such scale has not been carried out in Georgia. In total, three tunnels were built in the reporting period.

As of 2019, construction work is in progress on 77 kilometres of the east-west high-speed highway which will be gradually completed by 2020-2023. In 2019, there is a plan to finish construction work on 43 kilometres of road as a part of the high-speed highway.

As mentioned previously, in accordance with the Four Point Plan, it is the Georgian Dream’s promise to build 800 kilometres of road infrastructure in four years. Of the promised four-year period, two years have already passed and only 66.7 kilometres of roads, including 45 kilometres of highway, were built in this time. Taking this into account, the Government of Georgia has still to build 733.3 kilometres of roads in the next year which is implausible.

The second promise of the Four Point Plant concerns the completion of the east-west high-speed highway by 2020. Of note is that the official information from the government confirms that the aforementioned promise has been broken. The report of the Road Department of Georgia says that the construction of the remaining sections of the high-speed highway will be completed in 2020-2023. In addition, construction contracts for two sections of the Rikoti Pass road, Khevi-Ubisa and Ubisa-Shorapani, have already been signed and the deadline to finish the construction work is the end of 2021 instead of the initially promised 2020.

The following figures further corroborate the implausibility of keeping the aforementioned promise: the construction of the highway started in 2006. Since the launch of the construction work and including 2018, traffic has been open on 190 kilometres of roadways. Therefore, an average of 15.8 kilometres of highway were built annually (excluding 2006 because preparatory work for the highway construction was carried out in that year). With this pace, it will take more than 31 years to build 505 kilometres of highway. If we take the average annual figures for highway construction under the Georgian Dream’s rule only (121.85 kilometres of roads were built under the Georgian Dream’s rule), we will have 20.3 kilometres of roads each year. If the incumbent Government of Georgia keeps its own construction pace, it will take more than 24 years to build 505 kilometres of highway.


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