WASHINGTON, June 26, 2012 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved US$ 43 International Development Association (million IDA) Additional Financing for the Third East-West Highway Improvement Project (TEWHIP) for Georgia. The Board approved a US$ 147 million IBRD loan for the TEWHIP in September 2009. This was the third in a series of investments aimed at upgrading the E60 Highway, Georgia’s key transport corridor.
The TEWHIP project upgrades the E60 highway between Sveneti and Ruisi to a dual carriageway road standard. It will also assist the Government in implementing reforms in the transport sector, including strengthening of the Roads Department, improving private sector participation in road maintenance and operations, road safety, and engineering education. As a result of the three year project, road transport costs will be reduced, and access, ease of transit, and road safety along the central part of Georgia’s East-West corridor improved. The capacity of the Roads Department and relevant Government entities to plan and manage the road network and to improve traffic safety will also be strengthened.
“This program is a major element of the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Georgia,” said Asad Alam, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “It will not only strengthen Georgia’s competitiveness, economic growth, and job creation prospects over the medium-term, but will also help to stimulate economic recovery and create new employment opportunities in the immediate future.”
“The road works are expected to start during the summer of 2012 and the road works completion is expected to be within three years from the construction start date,” said Rodrigo Archondo-Callao, World Bank Senior Highway Engineer and Project Team Leader. “The Ruisi-Agara road carries high traffic - about 12,000 vehicles per day. Therefore, the road users will benefit from reduced traffic congestion and road accidents and improved ride comfort.”
The E60 highway carries over 60 percent of the foreign trade that uses Georgia’s roads. The government’s program to upgrade the E60 will help cement Georgia’s position as a key transport corridor. The government’s support for addressing road safety issues on the E60 as an integral part of upgrades to the corridor is particularly encouraging.
The Third East West Highway Program significantly scales up Bank support to Georgia in the roads sector. It builds upon the US$ 47 million First East-West Highway Improvement Project, totaling US$ 292 for the overall East-West Highway Improvement Program.
Since 1992, World Bank commitments to Georgia total approximately US$ 1.62 billion for 52 projects.