24 March 2018

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With New Alternative Tunnel, Salang Pass Is Being Rehabilitated

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Kabul (BNA) The Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) has announced an alternative proposal that will be implemented in Salang, this ministry has three plans in hand for the Salang Pass, which the alternate is the Salang tunnel.
Mohammad Mehdi Rohani, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works, told The Kabul Times reporter that this ministry has to seek alternatives routes to Salang to rebuild this passage.
The first proposal is Salang tunnel alternative that is the Doshi- Bamyan road, which is 152 km long, which its construction has divided into 6 sections, he added.
The first part which its agreement was recently signed by the president, Minister of Public Works with a contractor company, will begin in Baghlan and Bamyan in the near future.
The second to fifth sections are surveyed and are in the procurement process and will be completed within one month.
According to the Ministry of Public Works, the construction work of Bamyan-Doshi road will be started in six sections in the next two months. With the completion of the Bamyan-Doshi road, traffic jam of the current Salang tunnel will be decreased and transfers the traffic to Bamyan-Doshi road. After the transfer of traffic, the major repairing will begin within the Salang tunnel, until the damages of Salang are reconstructed.
Rohani went on to say that in order to once again reconstruct the current Salang tunnel the MoPW has talked to 12 companies and these companies have participated in the basic studies of the Salang tunnel and currently its under evaluation, after this, the basic reconstruction work of the Salang tunnel would be started.
The MoPW is trying to rebuild the Salang tunnel in a good international standard and this project funded by the World Bank.
Currently, the World Bank has provided $50 million to the Ministry of Public Works for tunnel studies.
He mentioned that the third proposal is a long-term one that includes the new Salang tunnel. Previously, the Salang new tunnel had been studied by USAID, which its study includes of six proposals, that out of six three of them were approved by the Ministry. The Australian company is currently pursuing their studies and it has been put for bidding and the Australian company SEMK has been announced as the winner of bidding and its studies are underway. And after their basic studies, the Ministry of Public Works will share some other issues with them in this regard.
Based on MoPW report, the cost for new tunnel will be paid by Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the government of Afghanistan. The Afghan experts believe that the Salang Pass is one of the important routes which connects nine Northern provinces to Kabul. The government not only has playing role in reconstruction of this Pass, but should specify its alternative also as soon as possible and start its work.
Shukria Kohistani

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