Economy, Domestic Economy

No End in Sight to Tehran-North Freeway Plight

No End in Sight to Tehran-North Freeway PlightNo End in Sight to Tehran-North Freeway Plight

The long drawn-out construction of Tehran-North Freeway, which started 20 years ago, has turned into a major headache for the government.

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

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

“While 93 percent of the section has been completed, tunnel construction is still going on,” deputy minister of roads and urban development, Ali Nurizad told ISNA.

The construction of the second and third sections from Shahrestanak village in north of Tehran to Marzanabad, has also not made much progress. No contractors seem to be currently working on these sections. According to Nourzad, the middle sections of the route that passes through ragged and inhospitable terrain are not easily accessible.

Section 1, which covers a 32-kilometer route from west of Tehran to Shahrestanak village, will shorten the current path by 60 kilometers.

“Based on a memorandum of understanding between the ministry of roads and urban development and the Mostazafan Foundation –the largest charity and the second-largest conglomerate in Iran— Chinese contractors have been tasked to complete the tunnels and bridges along this section,” said the official.

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 foundation with the project. Nonetheless, the project ran into problems regarding funding and implementation.

 Lack of Research

Experts believe the project has caused extensive financial damage, measuring the size of which requires a thorough research.

“It’s a disaster when a project lasts 20 years,” Mehr news agency quoted head of the Iranian Society of Consulting Engineers (ISCE), Hormazd Ramineh, on Saturday.

“Such a massive project should be studied for many years and implemented within 2-3 years, rather than conducting only six months of preliminary studies and then taking forever to complete the implementation,” he said, adding that lack of sufficient research has lead to huge financial burden on the government.