Shared Lanes: China-built road improves Tajikistan's transportation system
Over 90 percent of Tajikistan's surface area is covered by mountains. That makes its transportation system almost entirely reliant on roads. A China-built highway has become a major route in Tajikistan, and it also has the longest tunnel in Central Asia. CGTN's He Weiwei has more.
A road linking the south to the north. The Dushanbe-Chanak highway connects the capital with Tajikistan's northern border with Uzbekistan. If someone wants to travel to the north from Dushanbe, Marom terminal is where he goes first. We met with the terminal's manager, who's been working here for over 10 years.
RAHMATOV ANVARBEK, MANAGER MAROM TERMINAL, DUSHANBE "This is the only terminal in the city that provides long-distance car services to the north. Since the highway opened in 2008, we have seen a significant increase in the number of passengers."
Now it's one of the busiest terminals in Dushanbe, generating more income for drivers.
"There are more passengers, so we're earning more money than before."
We decided to take a car to see the highway for ourselves.
HE WEIWEI DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN "It's time to go. We'll get on the car with Mr. Rahmatov, heading to the Dushanbe-Chanak highway, let's go."
The highway is 380 kilometers long. It has slashed driving time from 12 hours to only 4, significantly facilitating the journey for the locals.
RAHMATOV ANVARBEK, MANAGER MAROM TERMINAL, DUSHANBE "In the past, the traffic was very heavy here. Mountain passes were usually blocked for half a year due to avalanches in the winter. But thanks to this highway, they are now passable throughout the year."
The highway includes some record-breaking projects- the Shahristan tunnel, the longest in Central Asia, and a bridge over Syr Darya River, the longest in Tajikistan. These are all constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.
LI CHANGWEI, GENERAL MANAGER TAJIKISTAN OFFICE, CHINA ROAD & BRIDGE CORP. "In this project we provided over 3000 jobs for local people, and the highway significantly boosted connectivity within the country. It gained a national engineering award by the Tajik government."
Tajikistan used to be an important stop along the ancient Silk Road, and is now an active supporter of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Improved infrastructure is expected to bring more development to the country in the future. He Weiwei, CGTN, DUSHANBE.