Road sector of Kazakhstan: Increase in transit potential, repair of roads, introduction of tolls and development of roadside service
Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Roads of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development Satzhan Ablaliyev spoke about the interim results, as well as key projects of the road sector in an exclusive interview with PrimeMinister.kz.
� Satzhan Aitenovich, what has already been done within the framework of Nurly Zhol program and what preliminary results can you name?
� As you know, the Nurly Zhol program has been implemented since 2015. Until 2019, 2,400 km of roads were reconstructed under this program. These roads are mainly of the first technical category with four-lane traffic, and also of the second technical category. In addition, with various types of repairs were completed on over 5.5 thousand km of roads.
� Currently, projects such as the Center-South, Center-East, Center-West, Center-North transport corridors are being implemented, which will connect the capital with remote regional centers. How is the work going in this direction?
� The Nurly Zhol program provides for large projects that are focused on ensuring the sustainable transport infrastructure of the centers. These are Center-South, Center-East, Center-West. These projects are very large in scale. Each of them is more than 1000 km long.
To date, more than 1,000 km of construction work on the Center-East project has been completed. The last 230 km will be commissioned in 2019. And thus the corridor will be in full operation at the end of this year.
One of the big projects is the Center-South by the Nur-Sultan�Almaty communication (more than 1200 km). On this corridor from Almaty and Nur-Sultan, some sites have already been commissioned: this is Nur-Sultan�Temirtau, Almaty�Kapchagai. In the remaining sections, construction work is already under way for almost the entire length, contracting companies have been identified, financing has been secured. We plan that at the end of 2020 construction will be completed at these sites.
Another great direction is Center-West. Today, we are working in this direction in Atyrau, Aktobe, Mangystau regions. Aktobe�Atyrau�Astrakhan projects are being implemented. In the Mangystau region � from Beyneu to Shetpe with access to the city of Zhanaozen. These projects are at different stages of implementation. Everywhere provided sources of funding. In Kostanay region, construction has also begun at the 114-km-long section at the expense of the republican budget. In general, in all these projects, active construction work is underway, which will be completed according to the existing plan.
� To enhance the role of our country as a transport and logistics hub, the priorities are the development of international corridors and border directions. What projects have already been started and when will the movement open on them?
� The main focus of the Nurly Zhol program is to increase the country’s transit potential. Here we are focused on border areas, access to China, Russia, Uzbekistan, etc. In this direction, a lot of work is underway. In the direction of China: construction work is underway throughout the Uzynagash-Usharal-Dostyk section. In addition, the reconstruction of the Bak Kesken-Bakty highway is nearing. Work is underway in the direction of Kalbatau�Maikapshagai. Last year, the Almaty – Khorgos section was completed. All the main exits, transit corridors to China are in operation and have already been completed. At the same time, the project Taldykorgan – Ust-Kamenogorsk is being implemented, which also unites all exits to China in this direction.
In addition, last year we passed the project Uralsk – Ozinki. This is the exit to Russia. Today, a project of reconstruction from the city of Petropavlovsk to the border in the direction of Kurgan is being implemented in the North Kazakhstan region. In the Atyrau region, the Atyrau-Astrakhan project has begun. This all increases the transit potential.
� At present, a toll collection system has been introduced on a number of republican roads. In what areas will this system be implemented in the future? What are the expected fees and what will they be spent on?
� At the end of last year, we introduced a toll on three sections of roads over 470 km long. Today, these roads are operating normally. At the same time, the program assumes, until the end of its implementation, to introduce a payment for more than 6 thousand km. To date, mechanisms are being developed for the introduction of payables at these sites, and various technology options are being considered.
Recently, we have been discussing a lot and making decisions on the introduction of a paid, open system. This is done in order to avoid delays in collection. It is generally supposed that road users will pay for the fare through cashless payments and prepayments.
We implement payment for the project on Western Europe � Western China, as well as on all sections of roads that have just been reconstructed and updated. In the near future, the sections from Almaty along the corridor Western Europe � Western China to Taraz, Shymkent, Kyzylorda with access to Aktobe and further to Russia will be paid. Also, the payment will be introduced at the site Nur-Sultan – Atbasar – Kostanay. The issue of introducing payment in the Mangystau region in the direction of the port, Beineu, Aktau and other projects is being considered.
� Note that during the construction and reconstruction of roads, special attention is paid to the development of related infrastructure � road service facilities. It is no secret that the level and quality of our roadside service leaves much to be desired. What measures are envisaged to improve it?
We are implementing large projects, we are investing huge amounts of money, this involves not only improving the road itself, we are interested in improving the service facilities on our roads. In this regard, we, from the Government’s side � the Road Committee, whenever possible � provide full support to small and medium businesses so that they develop service facilities. If at the road reconstruction sites there are service facilities, we must always go there and check-in, try to equip parking for existing service facilities, thereby enabling the private sector to develop its business. In some places where there are no business facilities today, but they are very necessary, we try to provide recreation areas with check-in and check-out, if possible we bring communications there, and together with local executive bodies we try to develop private business there.
� What work has been done to improve local roads of regional and district significance? What new technologies are used in Kazakhstan in the construction and reconstruction of roads?
� Elbasy instructed to develop local roads last year. In this regard, for the development of local roads from last year increased the amount of funding, more than 150 billion tenge for the development of local roads were allocated. These are regional and district roads. In general, more than 4 thousand km of roads were repaired. We have a sufficient amount required for repair. This is about 30%. In this regard, annually, starting this year, more than 200 billion tenge will be allocated for the development of local roads and it is planned to repair more than 4 thousand km of roads annually. Mostly local roads are destined for local use, the intensity is low, and in this connection we are trying to do more repair work using the allocated funds. All the advanced technologies known in the world are already being studied and applied, thus we want to reduce the cost of road construction works and increase the quality.
� What measures are taken by your committee to ensure the safety and sustainable operation of roads during the flood period?
� In recent years, the question of the floods has become more relevant, somewhere changing climatic conditions. Those roads that were built earlier do not quite provide for the passage of melt water, especially during the spring flood period. In this regard, during the reconstruction and construction of new roads, we further study the climatic conditions. Special studies have been carried out, thus we take into account all the issues on new projects: the places of melt water are reviewed, holes are increased in some pipes, all available technologies are used to safely pass melt water.
Source: The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan