DUSHANBE, August 15, Asia-Plus - An official commencement of the construction of the Shahriston tunnel in northern Tajikistan was adjourned on August 15 until August 20, Mr. Qodir Sharipov, the director of the unit for implementation of the project on rehabilitation of the road Dushanbe-Khujand-Uzbek border, said in his interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, the adjournment has been ordered in connection with preparations for other jubilees in the country, “and not all persons invited will be able to attend the official commencement of the construction of the tunnel.”  

“However, the excavation work has already been launched on the northern portal of the tunnel, and builders will have managed to excavate 2-3 meters by August 20,” the Asia-Plus interlocutor said.  

            As it had been reported earlier, China’s companies had won tenders to build the Shahriston (Sughd province) and Shar-Shar tunnels (Khatlon province) tunnels in Tajikistan, and Beijing this year offered Tajikistan grants and loans to fund these projects. 

Construction of a 5-kilometer Shahriston tunnel is part of plans to improve road communications between Dushanbe, Khujand and the Uzbek border city of Chanoq.  China’s construction company “China Road” will excavate the Shahriston tunnel.  

“China Road has not been satisfied with a wish of Iranian “Sobir International” to participate in the construction of the Shahriston tunnel,” Mr. Sharipov said.  “The Chinese company will probably use assistance of other construction company to speed up the work,” noted Sharipov, “But what company it will be it not known yet.”     

According to preliminary estimates, the Shahriston tunnel project will cost some US$70 million.  The tunnel is supposed to be finished in three years.