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Travel time from Tbilisi to Batumi to become 3 hours by 2024, PM Garibashvili says

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, September 2
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, it will be possible to travel from Tbilisi to Batumi in just 3 hours by 2024. Construction work is currently underway on the Ubisa-Shorapani section of the Rikoti Pass and as the PM noted, “the project is unprecedented in Georgia and unique in Europe in terms of intricacy.”

The project envisages building a total of about 51.6 kilometres of roads consisting of 96 bridges and 53 tunnels, costing more than GEL2 billion. After the completion of the Rikoti Highway, which is planned in stages in 2021-2024, traffic speed will increase and instead of 5-6 hours, it will take only 3-3.5 hours to drive from Tbilisi to Batumi. As Gharibashvili said, the new road to the Rikoti Pass section meets all modern road safety standards. Within the framework of this project, special spaces will be arranged, where people living in the surrounding villages will be able to sell their products, including food, pottery, and other locally produced goods. Similar shopping spaces will be arranged in Surami, Shrosha and Zestaponi.

According to the official information, a 2-kilometre section of the highway, consisting of 6 bridges and 3 tunnels, is expected to open in September. Despite the Covid pandemic, construction works on Rikoti Pass have not been halted. The project employed more than 4000 people, mostly Georgian citizens.

PM emphasized the project's special importance and noted that the Rikoti Highway, which is a part of the East-West International Freeway and an important section along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), plays a vital role in transforming Georgia into a logistics and transit hub.