The project to build a bypass railway which would allow Tbilisi to be freed from train traffic, primarily freight has been standing idle for 6 years. A total of $ 210 million have already been spent for the project.
According to Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, construction has been halted as the project is economically unprofitable and harmful for the city.
At the same time, the non-governmental organization International Transparency speaks about a number of advantages of the project for the city – it will allow to free the city from freight trains, including with oil.
Construction of the bypass road began in 2010 by the previous government, but in 2012, after the change of the ruling party, it was frozen. According to a study conducted by mc Mobility, the bypass rail commissioning could increase operating expenses of the Georgian Railway and decrease its profit. For this reason, the project was recognized as economically disadvantageous.
By now two thirds of the works have already been completed. It was to resume works after the project is modified.
Currently, the government does not have clear plans about what to do with infrastructure worth $ 210 million – the new government has completely refused to build the bypass road.
Experts in the field of transport doubt the necessity and feasibility of such a road. According to Paata Tsagareishvili, head of the Transport Corridor Research Center, the investment will not pay off even if the project is completed.
“When the project started, transportation by Georgian railway grew by 15-20% per year, in 2012 this figure reached a peak of 20 million tons and the project was economically justified. Since 2012, the situation has noticeably changed, and the cargo traffic, primarily oil, has significantly decreased. Therefore, the implementation of the bypass railway project makes no sense,” he explains.
The total cost of the project is $ 300 million, of which 210 million has already been spent.