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Russia is putting the Trans-Caucasian Highway into order2009-02-05 17:57
About 2 billion roubles have been invested into modernizing the Trans-Caucasian Highway as part of implementing the federal "Roads of Russia" programme. This was reported last week by the deputy manager of the state enterprise "Office for the North Caucasian roads" Nikolay Pesyakov.
According to what he said on Ossetian radio, the only road linking North and South Ossetia was severely damaged during the August events. About 40 million roubles have been allocated out of the federal budget to restoring it alone.
As Pesyakov noted, many stretches of the road, which was damaged at many points by Russian armoured equipment, have already been completely repaired.
Road workers regard modernizing the longest and most important road in North and South Ossetia as the highest priority task for the next few years.
Built in the last few years of the USSR's existence, the Trans-Caucasian Highway links the towns of Alagir in North Ossetia and Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, opening the way from Russia to the Caucasus, and onwards to the Middle East. However, starting from the moment when it was put into operation, this road actually never functioned properly. It was just built anyhow, with an enormous amount of faults and defects. It was all done in the usual way for the Soviet times: the main thing was to get the site up and running on time, so that the managers could report back to the party and the government and receive the monetary incentives which had been set aside for them.
Everyone was in a rush - not only the builders, but also the local residents who were helping them who were tired of going to see their relatives in North Ossetia via Tbilisi. Back then it was thought that they would be able to do the fine-tuning whilst the road was in use. In actual fact nothing turned out as they had planned.
It emerged very quickly that no cosmetic fixes would help: it needed major repair work. But the Soviet Union collapsed, and the republic of Georgia became independent. After which war broke out in South Ossetia in 1992.
In the end, the road was blocked off to the north of Tskhinvali by the Georgian enclave of Kekhvi-Tamarasheni. Through traffic along the Trans-Caucasian Highway came to a standstill. South Ossetia was forced to build a bypass - the so-called Zarsky road.
The issue of the state of the Trans-Caucasian Highway once again became topical in August 2008. Traffic became able to pass along the main road. Admittedly, its condition left much to be desired. Especially because, as was stated earlier, the situation was exacerbated by the caterpillars and wheels of the heavy artillery.