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Home | Opinions | Economic | New Salang tunnel to be built in 26 months: Spokesman

New Salang tunnel to be built in 26 months: Spokesman

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New Salang tunnel to be built in 26 months: Spokesman
 According to MoPW authorities this new Tunnel enjoys regional importance and will be built by SMEC Australian Co at a cost of $19.6 m.
A memorandum of understanding was already signed between the MoPW and the SMEC Co on technical studies, design and details of the project.
Talking on the situation of current Salang Tunnel, in an exclusive interview with The Kabul Times reporter, the spokesman of the MoPW Mehdi Roohani said, Salang tunnel was constructed over 50 years ago by the then USSR with a capacity of 1000 vehicles. But today this highway is not accountable to meet our transit-transportation needs and has been damaged and creates problem for traffic. This highway connects north to south and creates imports-exports facilities. Construction of the new Tunnel could be a good alternative.
In 2012, the MoPW with the cooperation of USAID made an elementary study and the USAID suggested seven options to MoPW out of which three options were approved. The first alternative was Doshi- Bamyan road with 122 km length, the second was Khawak-Pansher route and the third was the new Tunnel from Olang to Doshakh area.
It was put to bidding and out of eight bidding companies, the Australian SMEC Co was the winner.
Roohani added, this Co would start its studies in 26 days in two sections. This Co would study three options in nine months and afterwards would submit its final options to MoPW. The project will be completed in 26 months with a grant of Asian Development Bank and Japanese government. The Japanese government has contributed US $ 32 m to the Afghan government for repairing and studies of Salang Tunnel out of which US $19.6m was allocated for the new tunnel. In recent years, about 24000 km roads have been built throughout Afghanistan with expenditures of multi million dollars.
The MoPW was mainly responsible to supervise all these roads but there were certain shortages. There are thee supervisions of emergency, current and periodical as the last one is the most important one, which is done every 5 years.
He went on to say, the ADB has allocated US $30 m for roads maintenance as Kabul-Jalalabad and Kabul-Kandahar roads are included MoPW plan. Kabul-Jalalabad road is under reconstruction and afterwards reconstruction of Kabul-Kandahar road will be started.
 Roohani clarified, the MoPW has undertaken 80 projects this year that includes ring roads Kabul-Kandahar road, north south and east west corridors. The MoPW intends to invite attention to less developed provinces and remote districts and over Afs 50b has been allocated for 397 projects.
He added, our problems include lack of sufficient budget, insecurities etc.
Currently over 5500 vehicles move on Salang road on daily basis. 
Shukria  Kohistani

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