Kazakhstan Puts 1,600 Kilometers of Main Roads into Operation with World Bank’s Support

ASTANA – As part of the ongoing South-West and East-West projects financed by the World Bank, over 1,600 kilometers of main roads have been put into operation in Kazakhstan, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan Andrei Mikhnev said at a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov on July 9.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz

World Bank support

According to the Prime Minister’s press service, the World Bank is currently implementing two large transport projects in Kazakhstan. The Western Europe-Western China and Karagandy-Almaty projects have a total allocation of $3.2 billion. These projects aim to develop key transport corridors in several regions of the country.

The bank is also preparing a project to improve the transport sustainability and connectivity of the corridor between Zhezkazgan and Karagandy in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This project will be built under the first technical category with four-lane traffic, designed to accommodate projected traffic intensity for 20 years. An additional benefit of this project is the enhancement of the multimodality of the Middle Corridor in Kazakhstan.

“Within this project, for the first time in Kazakhstan, the principles of Output- and Performance-based Road Contracts will be introduced, where the contractor will design, build, and subsequently maintain the road infrastructure,” Mikhnev emphasized. The bank’s Board of Directors expects the project to be approved by November.

Ongoing and future projects

Minister of Transport Marat Karabayev reported that construction and repair work on 7,000 kilometers of roads will be completed by the end of the year. Reconstruction work is ongoing on four major road projects with a total length of 1,955 kilometers: Karagandy-Almaty, Aktobe-Kandyagash, Atyrau-Astrakhan, and Taldykorgan-Oskemen.

Several projects are slated for completion this year. The first is the longest road tunnel in Kazakhstan, located on the Shakpak Baba pass in the Turkistan Region. It will be operational in July and will facilitate year-round travel for drivers.

The second project is a 6-kilometer-long road overpass at Shamalgan station, critical for transit in the Almaty agglomeration, set to open in September.

The third project is the commissioning of the 262-kilometer-long Merke-Burylbaytal highway, which will connect the country’s central and northern regions with the Western Europe-Western China corridor.

Fourth, the construction of a 1.3-kilometer-long bridge across the Bukhtarma Reservoir in Eastern Kazakhstan will be completed this year. The bridge will ensure safe travel for residents who use a ferry in the summer and travel on ice in the winter.

“The bridge will connect four districts of the East Kazakhstan Region. This historic project has been discussed for 60 years,” Karabayev said.

Twelve projects with a total length of 4,500 kilometers are planned for implementation by 2029. Three of these projects will begin this year, including the Karagandy-Zhezkazgan project, connecting two regional centers and attracting cargo transportation from the north and east to the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.

Another project is the Aktobe-Ulgaisyn section of the Western Europe-Western China corridor. The last project is a 102-kilometer bypass road around the city of Saryagash, covering two districts of the Turkistan Region.

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