North & South: Kyrgyz Republic's Most Ambitious Road Project
In 2014 the Kyrgyz Republic started its largest and most ambitious road project since its independence — the alternative north–south road, which will connect Zhalal-Abad and Balykchy cities. The USD-850-million project assumes two elevated bridges and a tunnel. The latter will become the largest in the country — the bridges will be 40 m high and the tunnel is 4 km (1,5 times longer than the current largest tunnel in the country). The project will allow to cut the drive time from Zhalal-Abad to Balykchy to 6 hours — the old route is 740 km while the new road will be only 433 km.
While the significant economic boom after the project completion is not guaranteed and this is one of many projects with debt financing for the Kyrgyz Republic, infrastructurally it is by far the largest-scale project for the country.
The project development is quite challenging — workers have to fight harsh conditions in remote gorges, some of the team members have got significant injuries falling from 15 m height. Construction of the alternative north-south road requires over 2,000 workers and 700 units of heavy equipment together with thousands of tons of concrete and explosives.
AKIpress news agency has prepared a documentary dedicated to the Kyrgyz Republic's Independence Day about the process (the documentary is in Russian, so we recommend to turn auto-generated captions on and enable auto-translation into English).