Davit Songhulashvili: “In 2007-2012, 68 kilometres of high-speed highway were built whilst this figure was 190 kilometres in 2013-2020.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Davit Songhulashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.

Resume: The construction of the new high-speed highway (Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze) was launched in March 2006. The highway consists of the E-60 (Poti-Tbilisi-Red Bridge) and the E-70 (Poti-Batumi-Sarpi) highways. Currently, traffic is open on a 266.5-kilometre-long stretch. Of this figure, 68.15 kilometres were built in 2007-2012 and 198 kilometres have been built since 2013 up to the present day. Therefore, the larger stretch of the high-speed highway was built after the Georgian Dream came to power as compared to under the previous government’s rule whilst the pace of the highway’s construction increased 2.9 times.

However, in his statement, Davit Songhulashvili provides inaccurate figures of the average lengths of highways built per year under the previous and incumbent governments. In case of the United National Movement, the amount is less as compared to the real figure (10 kilometres instead of 11.4) whilst in case of the Georgian Dream the figure is instead exaggerated – 25 kilometres instead of 23.8.

Of additional note is that construction of the 42-kilometre-long stretch was started before 2012 which contributed to the accelerated pace of the highway’s construction when the Georgian Dream came to power. In addition, the construction timeframes of several sections of the highway have been changed multiple times and the most complicated – the Samtredia-Grigoleti section – has been under construction for six years. The deadline for the construction of the entire highway was also postponed and extended to 2024.

Given the aforementioned circumstances, Davit Songhulashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.

Analysis

The chair of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Davit Songhulashvili made a comparison between the results achieved under the Georgian Dream’s rule to those accomplished under the United National Movement’s rule at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia and highlighted statistical figures of the high-speed highway’s construction pace, stating: “In 2007-2012, 68 kilometres of high-speed highway were built whilst in 2013-2020 this figure was 190 kilometres. In 2006-2012, an average of 10 kilometres of highway were built every year whilst the pace of the work increased 2.5 times owing to the efforts of our team and an average of 25 kilometres of highway were built every year in 2013-2019.”

The construction of the new high-speed highway (Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze) was launched in March 2006. The highway consists of the E-60 (Poti-Tbilisi-Red Bridge) and the E-70 (Poti-Batumi-Sarpi) highways. The total length of the east-west high-speed highway is 390 kilometres. Since 2007 (2006 is not included in the calculations because only preparatory work for the highway’s construction was carried out in this year, particularly fundraising and purchasing private land plots from owners), traffic has been opened on a 266.5 kilometre-long stretch. Of this figure, 68.15 kilometres were built in 2007-2012 and 198 kilometres have been built since 2013 up to the present day. Therefore, the length of the high-speed highway built under the United National Movement’s rule was shorter as compared to the stretch built after the change of power. In particular, an average of 11.4 kilometres of highway were built every year under the United National Movement’s rule whilst an average of 23.8 kilometres of highway have been commissioned every year since the change in government whilst the pace of construction has increased 2.9 times.

Graph 1: Construction of the High-Speed Highway in 2007-20202 (Kilometres)

Source: Road Departments of Georgia

In his statement, Davit Songhulashvili provides inaccurate figures of the average lengths of highways built per year under the previous and incumbent governments. In the case of the United National Movement, this amount is less as compared to the real figure (10 kilometres instead of 11.4) whilst in the case of the Georgian Dream the figure is exaggerated – 25 kilometres instead of 23.8.

Of additional note is that construction of the 42-kilometre-long stretch was started before 2012 which contributed to the accelerated pace of the highway’s construction when the Georgian Dream came to power. In particular, construction of the Sveneti-Ruisi road (Lot II, III – 9.8 kilometres), the Kutaisi bypass road of the Zestaponi-Kutaisi-Samtredia section (17.5 kilometres), the Kobuleti bypass road (12 kilometres) and the widening of the existing two-lane road of the Chakvi-Makhinjauri section into a four-lane road had already been started. Therefore, the construction of the 42.3 kilometre-long stretch of the high-speed highway had already been in progress when the Georgian Dream came to power.

Of further note is that the contract dates for the completion of the work on some of the high-speed highway’s sections were changed in the past several years and extended for a certain period of time. In particular, construction of the Samtredia-Grigoleti section was started in 2014 and was in progress for the next six years. The deadline for the construction of the entire highway was also postponed and extended to 2024 instead of the originally announced 2020.

Currently, work is underway to build the Rikoti pass road of the highway. As a part of this construction process, there are plans to build a 51.6 kilometre-long road which consists of 96 bridges and 53 tunnels.

Given the analysed content, Davit Songhulashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.


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