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September 2017, No. 85


Endeavor

Construction of Phase 2 of Tehran-North Freeway Starts


Saeedikia apologized for the inordinate delays, saying Phase 1 will be completed before the Iranian year ends in March 2018.


The Tehran-North Freeway, connecting the capital city Tehran to Chalous in the Caspian Sea Province of Mazandaran, will fully come on stream by March 2023, said Mohammad Saeedikia, the head of Mostazafan Foundation, a large socioeconomic conglomerate in Iran that oversees the project.

The mega project worth $2.2 billion consists of four phases spanning 121 km.

Saeedikia was quoted as saying by Roads Ministry’s news portal that Phase 1 of the project, spanning 32 kilometers from Tehran, has made 85% progress while work on Phase 2 was officially launched in June.

“The 22-kilometer stretch is being constructed by four Iranian contractors. Phase 1 will cut short the existing route to the Caspian resort by 60 kilometers. This part includes a 6,500-meter tunnel, the excavation of which was completed recently,” he said.

“Phases 2 and 3 pass through rugged mountainous terrain and will take longer to complete. The 20-km Phase 4 was inaugurated in March 2014.”

Tehran-North Freeway started work 20 years ago. During his visit to the site on June 17, Saeedikia apologized for the inordinate delays, saying Phase 1 will be completed before the Iranian year ends in March 2018.

The construction of the second chunk of the freeway was officially launched (June 17) in the presence of First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, and Saeedikia. 

A Token of Iran’s High-Tech

Head of the Mostazafan Foundation said that the construction of Tehran-North Freeway with high-tech methods signifies Iranian engineers and contractors’ scientific and technical capabilities.

He reiterated that Tehran-North Freeway Company and Ministry of Roads and Urban Development are determined to complete the project soon.

He emphasized the fact that Iranian contractors were able to show their capabilities in this project. 

Phase 2 of Tehran-North Freeway Starts

During his inspection tour of the project in June 2017, Jahangiri ordered the start of operation of the Phase 2 of the 22 km freeway.

Akhoundi called the project ‘the biggest construction workshop of the country’.

“In the Phase 1, all the workshops are working actively and we are trying to make the phase with a length of less than 40 km ready for public use,” said Akhoundi.

“Simultaneously with the start of the second phase construction, we begin our work on the Phase 3 too; however, the work and construction in this phase is very hard and has lots of technical difficulties.

“For technical matters as well as for funding and implementing the project, we are negotiating with a Korean company and three Chinese ones,” the minister added, referring to the long tunnels as the main matter in the second chunk.

The third phase, a four-lane freeway for both ways commuting, has an approximate length of 46 km.

“The freeway’s architecture is of great importance and for the first time the architecture of the road and its high safety have been put into consideration,” he said stressing upon the high cost of this freeway.

During an earlier visit to the long drawn-out project’s construction sites in May 2016, Jahangiri had said the construction of Tehran-North Freeway requires 80 trillion rials ($2.3 billion at market exchange rate).

“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.

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

Also, the minister of roads said the government has reduced the number of Chinese contractors working in this section to draw on domestic capabilities. 

DAEWOO Signs Agreement to Build Phase 3

Daewoo E&C signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the construction of Tehran-North Freeway Lot 3. Under the agreement, the company would be in charge of engineering, procurement and construction for the project to build the third chunk of the freeway, including 47-kilometer tunnel and bridge ranging from Hezardram to Marzanabad. The deal had an estimated value of around US $1.5 billion.

The project is of vital importance to the people especially in the capital as it can save many lives as well as much time, money and energy.

According to the agreement which was signed early May, 2016, the Korean firm will have 6 months to study ways for the better implementation of the Tehran-North Freeway project.

A Chinese company had several years ago been granted a share in the construction of the second chunk of the freeway, while an Iranian company was in charge of the construction of the fourth chunk. After Iran voiced dissatisfaction with the Chinese operation and progress, they were replaced with another major Iranian construction company to finish off the job.

The officials of DAEWOO were accompanying the then South Korean president Park Geun-hye during her Tehran visit.

In related news, the CEO of Iran’s Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company (CDTIC) said the company is ready to sign a deal with the Khatam ul-Anbia Construction Base on the construction of Tehran-North Freeway should Koreans fail to implement the mega project.

Ali Nourzad told Tasnim News that the Tehran-North Freeway Company has recently signed a MoU with a South Korean construction firm on developing the freeway.

He said that according to the deal, the Koreans should meet their commitments within four months in order for the MoU to become operational.

The official went on to say that if the Korean company fails to fully implement the project, the CDTIC is ready to sign a deal with the Khatam ul-Anbia Construction Base, a conglomerate belonging to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). 

900 km of Freeways under Construction in Iran

There are 900 kilometers of freeways under construction in Iran, the deputy head of Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, affiliated to the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, said in July.

Seyyed Hossein Mirshafi also referred to Tabriz-Marand-Bazargan and Isfahan-Shiraz freeways as two major projects currently under construction.

Tabriz-Marand-Bazargan Freeway

The project, launched in early April, includes four sections, spanning 253 kilometers from Tabriz, the capital of the northwestern East Azarbaijan Province, to the city of Bazargan on Iran-Turkey border.

Bazargan accounts for a considerable share of road transportation between Iran and Turkey.

The 63-kilometer-long Phase 1, starting from Tabriz, needs 9.4 trillion rials ($250 million) in investment.

Mirshafi said it is being constructed by domestic private companies and will be completed in the next Iranian year (March 2018-19). 

Isfahan-Shiraz Freeway

The 225-kilometer freeway project, comprised of six phases, will connect the central provincial capital of Isfahan to the southern city of Shiraz in Fars Province, according to its contractor, Isfahan-Shiraz Freeway Company.

The project needs 16 trillion rials ($426 million) in investment.

According to Mirshafi, the freeway will cut short the current route between the two cities by 100 kilometers.

The first phase, with a length of 54 kilometers, will be completed by September 2018, the official said.

The freeway is designed to connect with another freeway project in Isfahan Province that stretches 93 kilometers.

He noted that 63 kilometers of the project are under construction and the government is in talks to finalize a contract for the remaining 30 kilometers. 

Plan for Further 500 Kilometers

According to Mirshafi, talks are in final stages to sign contracts to start the construction of 500 km of freeways across the country.

“We have also signed 40 MoUs to build new freeways,” he said, adding that the cabinet has yet to approve these preliminary deals before they can end up becoming firm contracts.

Among the new projects in the making, he referred to a freeway from Mashhad to Qouchan, which is being negotiated with Iran’s Astan-e Quds-e Razavi—a charitable conglomerate based in Mashhad and engaged in a wide range of economic activities—as well as a 1,000-km freeway from the city of Qom to Mashhad, which is to be carried out by IRGC’s Khatam ul-Anbia Construction Base.

The Parsian-Lamerd project, freeways in Sirjan and Arak counties and part of a freeway from Bandar Abbas to Tehran are also among projects yet to be finalized.

Back in July 2016, the Iranian government signed a €3.6 billion deal with Italy’s highway agency ANAS for the construction and management of a 1,200-km road project linking the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Imam Khomeini to Bazargan on Iran’s border with Turkey.

Iran’s sixth five-year development plan (2017-22) stipulates that the total length of Iran’s freeways should reach 7,500 kilometers by 2022. Currently, there are 2,500 kilometers of freeways across the country.

 

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  September 2017
No. 85