An official ceremony of the beginning of rehabilitation of the road from Qalai Khumb, the administrative center of Darvoz district in Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), to GBAO’s Vanj district (up to Rushan district) took place on June 23, according to the press center of the Ministry of Transport of Tajikistan (MoT). 

Chinese company, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), will be engaged in rehabilitation of this section of the Dushanbe-Khorog highway.   

Tajik Minister of Transport Azim Ibrohim, representatives of CRBC and GBAO Governor Alisher Mirzonabot attended the ceremony.

China is reportedly expected to award a US$230 million grant for rehabilitation of this 109-kilometer road, which is in a very poor state.  Currently, it takes drivers up to three hours to drive this section of the Dushanbe-Khorog highway.

Rehabilitation of the Qalai Khumb-Vanj road includes construction of two tunnels with a total length of 5.2 kilometers, a 490-meter gallery and 15 bridges with a total length of 634 meters that will reduce the length of the road to 90 kilometers.  

Meanwhile, in a statement delivered at a joint meeting of both chambers of parliament, President Emomali Rahmon on December 21, 2021 noted that the Rushan-Khorog-Kulma road, which is the key section of the highway connecting Dushanbe, Khorog and Kulma Pass, will be rehabilitated within the next five years (2022-2026).  

The Dushanbe – Khorog – Kulma Pass highway is the only overland route between Tajikistan and China. 

The Dushanbe-Kulob-Khorog-Kulma-Karokurum highway may reference Asian Highway 66 (AH66) as well as parts of the famous Pamir Highway.  AH66 runs from Dushanbe to Xinjiang, crossing the border at Kulma Pass and connecting to the Karakoram highway that runs north-south from China into Pakistan.

It is to be noted that the Dushanbe-Khorog highway was built in 1940 in a record three and a half months.  Until 1940, it was possible to get from Khorog to Dushanbe only after driving 732 kilometers to Osh (Kyrgyzstan) by carriage road, and then 1551 kilometers by rail.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), a subsidiary of Fortune Global 500 company China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), focuses on global civil engineering and construction projects such as highways, railways, bridges, ports, and tunnels. Growing out of the Foreign Aid Office of the Ministry of Communications of China, CRBC and its predecessors have been executing projects since 1958.  In 1979, CRBC was formally established and entered the international contracting market.  The parent entity, CCCC, was formed through the combination of CRBC and China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) in 2005.

CRBC is among the largest engineering and construction firms globally, and operates from more than 50 branches and offices throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.  In addition to the design and construction of infrastructure, CRBC is engaged in infrastructure equity investment; real estate development and management; and industrial park equity investment and development.