The Project covers rehabilitation and upgrade of the 62 kilometre road linking the city of Dushanbe to the Uzbek border and connecting Tajikistan to the Russian Federation to the north (via Uzbekistan) with onward links to Turkey and Western Europe (e.g., via Caspian Sea routes). The road is a part of the CAREC corridor Programme which seeks to expand trade and improve competitiveness through focused action by all multilateral partners (i.e. ADB, EBRD, IMF, IDF, WB and UN) in transport initiatives, trade facilitation, energy, trade policy, and economic corridor development.
The road consists of 5 sections. The upgrade of Sections 2 to 5 (from Western Gate of Dushanbe to the Tajik – Uzbek border) of approximately 57 km in length was financed by ADB grant. Section 1 of approximately 4.6 km in length is located within the urban area (between the Avicenna Monument to the Western Gate of Dushanbe) and includes 82nd roundabout and Avicenna roundabout.
The EBRD and AIIB loan proceeds will cover the financing required to complete Section 1 and thus complete the whole road.
The key transition objectives for the Project include the following:
- Government commitment to measures for increasing the amount of funding for road maintenance;
- Assistance to revising and improve construction and maintenance road standards
- Development of the Road Sector Institutional Reform Study
The Borrower is Republic of Tajikistan. The Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
A sovereign loan to the Republic of Tajikistan in an amount up to US$ 62.5 million.
The project cost for Section 1 is expected to be US$ 90 million including EBRD’s sovereign loan to be co-financed by the AIIB, and Technical Cooperation grants from EBRD and donors totalling US$ 2.5 million.
The Project was originally categorised B and structured to meet the EBRD Environmental and Social Policy (2008) as the potential impacts are expected to be site specific, readily identified and addressed through mitigation measures which were defined within an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP). The Somoni Avenue reconstruction is one of a number of roads that will link with the M41 highway reconstruction (Dushanbe to Uzbekistan border) that was partly financed by the ADB.
Independent consultants were appointed to undertake the environmental and social due analysis for the project. As the road shall connect with an ADB road development that has an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and established Land Acquisition and Resettlement Plan, these documents were taken into account in the EBRD environmental and social due diligence. No previous stakeholder consultations for this specific road section had been carried out and, therefore, a social survey, stakeholder identification and evaluation were undertaken.
Currently Somoni Avenue surface water is collected in drainage channels that discharge water into the Gissar Canal. During high rainfall the drainage systems often cannot accommodate water, and flooding occurs. In addition, the current road is associated with safety concerns because while there are pedestrian crossings evenly distributed throughout Somoni Avenue they are poorly marked, only one is regulated with traffic lights and many are reported to be placed incorrectly. The central island of the road is intensively used by pedestrians to cross the road. The road widening may result in the loss of some rows of plane trees (chinar) that were planted in the 1960’s and provide shade and visual barrier.
The project will involve: widening of the road, from three lanes to four; construction of a flyover and underpass; removal of the existing concrete pavement and then construction of a new asphalt road. The potential environmental and social impacts associated with these works include: construction impacts such as health and safety concerns, noise (particularly at night during construction) and dust; loss of trees; potential visual and cultural heritage impacts as the Avicenna flyover is likely to affect the view of the Avicenna monument from the south; and road safety risks due to temporary traffic disruptions. The potential benefits of the Project include reduced traffic congestion, reduced air emissions and road safety improvements, particularly through improvements to road crossings.
Since Board approval the project has proceeded with detailed design. There have been some design changes primarily to improve road safety including the introduction of additional pedestrian underpasses. An updated environmental and social analysis was also prepared. The Bank has reviewed the updated information and the new impacts that results from the updated design, which are that that 9 business units adjacent to the road will be lost and the West Gate and Avicenna Monument and adjacent structures are to be demolished. The ESAP has been updated as a result.
In March 2018 a detailed Resettlement Action Plan (RAP ) was finalized, outlining general principles, procedures and entitlement framework with regard to compensation and assistance to project affected people(PAP) in line with PR 5, following extensive consultations with PAPs. Permanent land acquisition and resettlement of households will be required for 612 persons in 88 affected structures. The affected structures are predominantly mixed residential and commercial. The Project Implementation Unit for Road Rehabilitation (PIURR) set up within the Ministry of Transport (MoT) will be responsible for implementation of the RAP and reporting to the Bank.The WHO (2015) country profile has identified pedestrians are disproportionately affected by road traffic crashes in Tajikistan with 33% of all annual fatalities being pedestrians. Due to location of this road section the Bank will seek opportunities to provide technical support by conducting a road safety audit of the detailed design and road safety awareness with the local community.
- The Project has benefited from the following TC grants: from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund in an amount of €1,500,000; from the Early Transition Countries Fund in an amount of €650,000; from the EBRD-Slovak Republic TC Fund in an amount of €300,000.
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