Minister’s 2022 summary highlights road, water infrastructure, ongoing projects to Parliament

Georgian Infrastructure Minister Irakli Karseladze on Thursday presented the summary of the work of his office throughout 2022 to the Parliament. Photo: Ministry of Infrastructure, 02 Nov 2023 - 16:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Infrastructure Minister Irakli Karseladze on Thursday presented the summary of the work of his office throughout 2022 to the Parliament, highlighting construction and renovation of road infrastructure, water supply and drainage systems, educational and sports infrastructure projects, and projects implemented within the Renewed Regions programme.

Karseladze said 2022 had been distinguished with “important” infrastructure projects in which ₾3.08 billion ($1.13bln) was invested - up 23 percent compared to 2021. 

Roads infrastructure

Karseladze said 287 road projects worth up to ₾7.4 billion ($2.73bln) were underway throughout 2022, of which 120 were completed. Construction was carried out on the East-West Highway project as well the Kakheti and South-North roads.

The Minister said a 27-kilometre, four-lane section of Rikoti Pass - a major crossing between eastern and western parts of the country - with its 65 bridges and 38 tunnels opened last week, while the construction of 97 additional bridges and 51 tunnels was underway.

In total, 261 kilometres of the East-West International Highway have already been opened and construction continues on 81 kilometres [...] When we talk about the East-West corridor, it is important to mention the Middle Corridor, the relevance of which has become even more notable”, he said in reference to the logistics route connecting China with Europe through the South Caucasus.

Photo: Ministry of Infrastructure

A 27-kilometre section of Rikoti Pass was opened as part of the Middle Corridor project”, Karseladze said, adding the Rikoti project would be completed in 2024.

He said the construction of the longest tunnel in Georgia, the 9-km-long and 15-metre-wide Kvesheti-Kobi construction, was continuing with hardware specially made for the initiative. Karseladze added the project was due to be completed between 2024-2025.

Karseladze also highlighted the road infrastructure developed in the eastern Kakheti region. 

The first four-kilometre section was completed on the 35-kilometre-long Tbilisi-Sagarejo highway this year [...] Also, in 2023, the construction of the 17-kilometre section of Sagarejo-Badiauri road began, which will be completed in 2025. Accordingly, traffic will be opened on the most challenging section of the 52-kilometre Kakheti highway”, he said.

The Minister added the renovation of Gombori Pass in Kakheti would be completed in 2024, while the road leading to the north-eastern village of Omalo in the adjacent Tusheti region was also under construction. 

Karseladze also told lawmakers the construction of a road connecting the capital city of Tbilisi to the city of Rustavi, 20 km to the south-east, would be completed in 2024.

The Minister said the road infrastructure projects for connecting regions included Baghdati-Abastumani, Khulo-Zarzmi and Lentekhi-Mestia roads. 

He noted the opening of the four-lane, 160-metre-long Bridge of Friendship on the Sadakhlo-Bagratasheni checkpoints on the state border of Georgia and Armenia, on the Debeda River.

Karseladze also pointed out construction and renovation of 38 bridges that were completed in 2022, and added 14 were built for the prevention of natural disasters, while 23 works for water body embankments were also completed last year.

Water supply, drainage systems

Karseladze said construction and renovation of water supply and drainage system projects were underway last year in over 200 locations, 38 of which were completed last year, while the remaining projects were still underway. 

As a result, more than 140,000 people have already been provided with 24-hour water supply [...] Of the ongoing projects, work will be completed in at least 60 locations, resulting in improved water supplies for more than 150,000 people”, he told MPs.

Photo: Ministry of Infrastructure

He also added “all cities” throughout Georgia were expected to have round-the-clock water supply by the end of 2025, while by 2030 the entire population of the country would enjoy “quality”, round-the-clock supply.

Educational and sports infrastructure

Karseladze told the Parliament construction and renovation of 79 schools was underway in Georgia in 2022, including completed works for renovation of 57 schools, with works expected to reach their goal in 10 more schools this year. 

The remaining schools will be renovated in stages between 2024-2025. In addition, with the support of the International Monetary Fund, an important programme is being implemented for construction and renovation of 54 new schools. Of these, contracts have been signed and work has begun on 11 facilities, with tender procedures ongoing”, he said.

Construction works of 30 kindergartens were underway last year, of which 13 have already been completed, and the remaining kindergartens are due to be renovated by 2024, he added.

In addition, on the initiative of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, a new kindergarten construction and rehabilitation programme was launched in 2023. Contracts have already been signed for 184 kindergartens, and tender procedures are underway for the rest”, Karseladze said.

Photo: Ministry of Infrastructure

In sports infrastructure, the Olympic pool in the western city of Kutaisi, Rustavi Sports Complex and a football stadium in Marneuli in the south were noted by the official, who said the projects were “at the completion stage”. 

Works for the construction of sports complexes in Akhaltsikhe and Zugdidi continue, while the construction of sports complexes in Bolnisi, Arkhiloskalo and Tsnori is ongoing at a high pace”, he told lawmakers.

The Minister also mentioned 10 sports facilities built or renovated across Georgia for hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship in the past summer, while also announcing construction of the Ice Palace in Tbilisi and infrastructure for biathlon and cross-country skiing in the winter resort of Bakuriani, which will host the 2025 Winter Youth Olympics. 

Renewed Regions programme

The Infrastructure Minister also spoke about the 2021-launched Renewed Regions programme, initiated by the Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, that covered 63 municipalities of the country in its first stage. 

Karseladze said 100 parks and squares, recreational zones across 40 hectares, over 730 buildings and the Abasha railway station in the west had been renovated within the programme, while “completely new” engineering networks were organised, drainage and irrigation systems set up across 165,000 square metres, while 112,000 square metres of pavement repaired.

City of Terjola. Photo: Gov't Administration

Urban renewal projects continue in Dusheti, Abastuman and Velistsikhe, he added, noting setting up of hiking trails and tourist huts in the Juta-Roshka-Arkhoti-Shatili-Tusheti area was proceeding “at a high pace”. He told lawmakers ₾200 million ($73.67mln) had been provided for the works in the 2023 budget.

Other projects

While presenting the annual report to the MPs, Karseladze also noted the progress in developing landfills across the country. He said out of 54 municipal landfills, 25 had been closed, while the renovation of 16 existing old sites had been completed. 

At this stage, the renovation of 11 landfills is underway. Work continues for the construction of six new regional non-hazardous waste disposal centres in accordance with European standards, in parallel with which the existing old landfills will be gradually closed”, he said.

Karseladze told MPs about the Government’s five-year decentralisation strategy, saying his office was continuing to implement the 2022-2023 action plan approved by the Government. 

The Minister also drew attention to the support provided to residents of highland settlements, saying over 263,000 people and 500 enterprises currently had the status of residents of such locations, leading to special financial benefits to improve their living conditions and development of local small- and medium-sized businesses.