Giorgi Tsereteli, the Chairman of the Roads Department of Georgia, on Friday said Rikoti Pass, a major crossing between eastern and western parts of Georgia, was closed to all types of vehicles due to a risk of a landslide, and added its professionals were working to restore traffic “as soon as possible”.
The Pass was closed due to “extreme necessity" late on Wednesday on the kilometre 149 section of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze highway, with the Department spokesperson telling Agenda.ge the road would be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Tsereteli said drivers were being redirected via the Gomi-Sachkhere-Chiatura-Zestaponi road, however traffic of trailers and semi-trailers was also restricted on the latter.
Following the recommendation by relevant specialists, we made a decision to temporarily close the traffic on the Rikoti Pass [...] Rehabilitation works are underway on the Chiatura-Zestaponi section, therefore, the traffic is limited [on the Gomi-Shachkhere-Chiatura-Zestaponi road], for which we apologise to the residents, passengers and drivers", Tsereteli said.
In addition, professionals are also working on the Chumateleti-Khevi road of the Pass, Tsereteli said, adding a threat of landslides was also present on the section.
Geologists, geotechnicians, and engineers are studying what is happening and what should be done in the future. Every tunnel, every bridge is constantly monitored", he said.
Tsereteli added the monitoring had revealed the development of the threat of a landslide, leading to the intervention.