Economy, Business And Markets

Gov’t Plans to Expedite Tehran-North Freeway Project

Gov’t Plans to Expedite Tehran-North Freeway ProjectGov’t Plans to Expedite Tehran-North Freeway Project

The government is planning to complete the first section of the Tehran-North Freeway by March 2017, the deputy minister of roads and urban development said.

Mehr News Agency also quoted Ali Nourzad as saying on Tuesday that the plan is to launch the first section before the Norouz holidays of the next Iranian year (starting March 21, 2017).

The freeway, which is to connect Tehran to the northern province of Mazandaran, includes four sections spanning 121 kilometers upon completion.

The 32-kilometer section from west of Tehran to Shahrestanak Village will cut the current path short by 60 kilometers. 

“As soon as the first section is ready, construction of the second and third will commence,” he said.

The protracted construction of Tehran-North Freeway, which was started 20 years ago, has turned into a major problem for the government. 

Initially, a group of Iranian engineers living in the United States proposed the project to the government of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Iran’s president from 1989 to 1997).

The government later rejected the proposal, assigning the project to Mostazafan Foundation—the second-largest conglomerate in Iran. Nonetheless, the project ran into problems over financing and implementation.

Based on a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development and Mostazafan Foundation last year, a Chinese contractor was tasked with completing the tunnels and bridges along this section. Later, five Iranian contractors were added to help push forward the project.

Section 4 of the highway, which is 20 kilometers long and connects Marzanabad in Kelardasht District to Chalous (both in Mazandaran), was inaugurated in March 2014, but was later closed to the public due to technical problems.

The construction of the second and third sections from Shahrestanak Village in the north of Tehran to Marzanabad, has yet to begin. No contractor seems to be currently working on these sections. 

According to Nourzad, the middle sections of the route pass through rugged and mountainous terrain and are not easily accessible.

Experts believe the project has caused extensive financial damage, as it was launched without thorough studies.

“It’s a disaster when a project lasts 20 years,” the head of the Iranian Society of Consulting Engineers, Hormazd Ramineh, said on Saturday.

“Such a massive project should be studied for many years and implemented within two to three years, instead of conducting only six months of preliminary studies and then taking forever to complete the implementation,” he said.

Ramineh noted that lack of sufficient studies has imposed a huge financial burden on the government.