DUSHANBE, July 1, 2010, Asia-Plus  -- Iranian Sangab Company that has been constructing the Sangtuda-2 power plant and dam in southern Tajikistan will complete construction of the Anzob Tunnel, Asia-Plus has learned from Shukrikhudo Noibov, a spokesman for Sangab in Tajikistan.

According to him, specialists from Sangab and Tajikistan’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) are currently coordinating further plans on construction of the tunnel.  “Iranian Saber International that was previously involved in the construction of the tunnel completed all works provided for by the agreement,” said the spokesman, “Saber International is not engaged in installation of tunnel ventilation and lighting systems, and therefore, our company has replaced it.”  The work is expected to be finished in the coming five months, Noibov added.

The Istiqlol Tunnel, better known among the population as the Anzob Tunnel, has been built with assistance of Iranian specialists.  Iran’s Saber International has constructed the Istiqlol Tunnel.  The total project cost was estimated at 40 million US dollars, and Iran has provided US$10 million in a form of grant and extended a preferential loan worth US$21 million to Tajikistan.  The tunnel makes the highway from Dushanbe to Khujand open for traffic the whole year round and drops the transit time by four to five hours.  An official opening ceremony of the Istiqlol Tunnel was held in July 2007; however, there are still some uncompleted works.

The Istiqlol Tunnel is a five kilometer long tunnel located 80 kilometers northwest of Dushanbe.  It connects the Tajik capital to Tajikistan’s second largest city, Khujand.  It is also a transit route between Dushanbe and Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent.  Previously, especially during the cold seasons, a lack of a direct link between northern and southern Tajikistan led to disruptions of commerce.