Officials say construction of quarter-century-old China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project set for activation
The construction stage of the two-and-a-half-decade-old China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan (CKU) railway project is set for activation, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Kyrgyzstan said on September 26.
Following a trilateral meeting of project officials and experts held on September 21, assessments confirming the technical feasibility and economic effectiveness of the planned railway, running from Kashgar in China to Tashkent in Uzbekistan via Osh in Kyrgyzstan, were signed off, it added.
There were also discussions on what model of financing and project management would be formulated and finalised for the project, the ministry said. Original project assessments deemed the project would cost around $2bn to $3bn, but this sum is estimated to have at least doubled by now.
Building the railway will be a tough challenge given the great number of tunnels that will have to be cut through mountainous Kyrgyzstan. However, officials say they are keen on delivering the infrastructure as it will cut the route from China to Europe and the Middle East by 900 kilometres (559 miles).
A trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the project was in mid-May signed on the sidelines of the China-Central Asia Summit hosted by China. The signatories were the National Development and Reform Commission of China, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Uzbek Ministry of Transport. The MoU dealt with achieving mutual understanding on technical and economic aspects of the CKU railway.
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