Construction of 9-km long Kvesheti-Kobi tunnel starts
Why it is important for Georgia?

The tunnel will be carved with the tunnel boring machine which was specially made for the construction of the Kvesheti-Kobi tunnel. Photo: Gov't of Georgia., 10 Sep 2021 - 14:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Construction of the longest tunnel in Georgia, 9-km long and 15-m in width Kvesheti-Kobi tunnel, has started today, announces the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The tunnel will be carved with the tunnel boring machine which was specially made for the construction of the Kvesheti-Kobi tunnel. 

This is one of the most high-tech tunneling machines in the world that helps to significantly reduce the impact on the environment. In addition, the machine ensures the excavation of the tunnel and its concrete cladding simultaneously, which further increases the safety standard”, says the ministry.

See the video showing the test run of the tunnel boring machine: 

Video by Kvesheti-Kobi Road/Youtube.

The Kvesheti-Kobi tunnel starts at Tskere village and ends at Kobi village, and will pass under Jvari pass.

Overall, construction of 2-lane 23 km long asphalt-concrete road, five bridges and five tunnels is planned on Kvesheti-Kobi road, including renovation of one more tunnel. 

Kvesheti-Kobi section is a part of the North-South Road Corridor. The road passes through a difficult geographical route and is characterised with heavy snowfalls in the winter period. Due to avalanche hazard and adverse weather, traffic is often closed in winter and transit traffic is interrupted. Construction of a new road and 9-km tunnel will address pending issues. Unhindered transit traffic will be possible at any time of the year.

Photo: Gov't of Georgia.

A 500m arch bridge will be constructed on Kvesheti-Kobi road, the arch of which will be an unprecedented 300 m in length.

Once the project is completed, distance between Kvesheti and Kobi will be reduced by 11 km instead of the existing 34 km road, and travel time will be reduced to 20 minutes instead of 1 hour.

Kvesheti-Kobi road goes along the riverbed of Tetri Aragvi along a 7-km section, passes through Arakveti village, then Serpentine starts from Kvemo Mleta. The road passes through Gudauri, crosses Jvari pass and ends at Kobi village; In total, the project will benefit nine villages.

The tunnel provides more secure and reliable conditions for passengers on the road in winter.

See rendering of the Kvesheti-Kobi road project.

The road will also improve the livelihood conditions of inhabitants living in the gorge. They are isolated from the outside world in the winter and the villages of Khada are almost empty. 

There are no grocery stores or pharmacies and medical assistance is not available. Because of the nonexistence of the road and severe weather conditions local people have to go to Kvesheti on foot, which entails many difficulties and risks.

The project will allow to maintain constant movement in the winter, improve road safety and carrying capacity, reduce the risk of road accidents and decrease the time of movement.

The construction works of Kvesheti-Kobi section is financed by Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 

The total cost of the project is 1.2 billion GEL and is due to be completed by 2024.