DUSHANBE, November 16, Asia-Plus -- Technical equipment necessary for excavation of the Shahriston tunnel in northern Tajikistan has been delivered, according to the Ministry of Transport. 

A source at the ministry said that compressors, excavators, loading machines and diesel generator were recently delivered to the southern portal of the tunnel.  65 specialists are working on the southern portal, according to the source.  “As far as the northern portal of the tunnel is concerned, 61 specialists are currently working there, constructing warehouses and preparing excavators and loading machines for operation,” the source said, noting that they have to date spent US$31.473 million on the works to excavate the tunnel.  In all, US$48.85 million have been allocated to excavate the tunnel, according to him.   

Chinese companies 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 the projects. 

Construction of the five-kilometer Shahriston tunnel is part of plans to improve travel between Dushanbe, Khujand and the Uzbek border city of Chanak. The Chinese construction company China Road will excavate the Shahriston tunnel.