Economy, Domestic Economy

Protracted Tehran-North Freeway Project Needs $2.3b

Protracted Tehran-North Freeway Project Needs $2.3bProtracted Tehran-North Freeway Project Needs $2.3b

The construction of Tehran-North Freeway, which is to connect Tehran to the city of Chalous in northern Mazandaran Province, requires 80 trillion rials ($2.3 billion at market exchange rate), according to First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri.

“This is while only 200 billion rials ($58 million) have been allocated to the project in the current year’s budget,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA. The current Iranian fiscal year started on March 20.

He referred to the limited financial resources as the main hurdle in the way of the freeway’s completion.

Jahangiri made the statements during a visit to the long drawn-out project’s construction sites on Monday.

He was accompanied by Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, CEO of Tehran-North Freeway Company Mehran Etemadi, as well as Mohammad Saeedikia, the head of Mostazafan Foundation—the largest charity and the second-largest conglomerate in Iran, which is overseeing the project.

The freeway includes four sections that span 121 kilometers upon completion.

Etemadi says the construction of Section 1 has made 60% progress.

“The completion of the remainder of the project (Section 1) requires 10 trillion rials ($290 million),” he said.

Seven contractors are currently working at 120 construction sites along this section so that this leg of the project will be finished by the March 2017 deadline, according to Etemadi.

Akhoundi said the government has reduced the number of Chinese contractors working in this section to draw on domestic capabilities.

The 32-kilometer Section 1, from west of Tehran to Shahrestanak Village, will cut the current path short by 60 kilometers.

Section 4 of the freeway, 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 government is currently in talks to find contractors for the second and third sections, which pass through rugged and mountainous terrains and are not easily accessible.