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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Continues to Support Upgrading Georgia’s Major Transport Route

May 9, 2013

Fourth East-West Highway Improvement Project Is Approved by the Board of Directors

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$75.0 million equivalent financing for the Fourth East-West Highway Improvement Project (EWHIP4) for Georgia. This is the latest in a series of investments aimed at upgrading the E60 Highway, Georgia’s key transport corridor.

The World Bank’s continuing support to the government for improvements to this key transport artery is built on the success of the three earlier projects, with the goal to improve further trade and connectivity by completing the important transit link between Tbilisi and the Rikoti tunnel. Through the completed Second East-West Highway Improvement Project and the ongoing First and Third East-West Highway Improvement Projects, the World Bank has supported the government in upgrading of the East-West Highway to a world-class four-lane motorway.

The Fourth East-West Highway Improvement Project will upgrade the section of the E60 between the end of the Agara bypass and the Gomi village bypass, which ends at Zemo Osiauri, and carry out road safety interventions and access improvements between Natakhtari and Khashuri. It will contribute to the gradual reduction of road transport costs and will improve road safety along the section upgraded under the Project, as well as strengthen the capacity of the Roads Department and the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure to plan and manage the road network and improve road traffic safety.

The Project will finance activities to complement planned improvements under the ongoing Third East-West Highway Project by assisting in the completion of the East-West Highway. In the current Country Partnership Strategy, the Bank is also committed to supporting efforts to increase the capacity of road sector institutions. The Strategy identifies reduction in travel time and costs along key transit routes and improved road safety as two outcomes necessary for achieving the competitiveness objective,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.

In addition to the improved road quality, road-users are expected to benefit from avoiding possible costly congestions, better road safety,  and savings derived from shorter travel time,“ said George Banjo, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Fourth East-West Highway Improvement Project.

The European route E60 is the second longest European road corridor running from Brest, France (on the Atlantic coast), to Irkeshtam, Kyrgyz Republic (on the border with the People's Republic of China). In Georgia, the E60 route runs from the Red Bridge at the Azerbaijan Border to the Poti Port at the Black Sea coast, a distance of about 392 kilometers.

A US$38.0 million loan is provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a US$37.0 million equivalent credit by the International Development Association (IDA).

Since 1992, World Bank commitments to Georgia total approximately US$1.82 billion for 55 projects.