The protracted construction of six highways to be completed in 2024

This year 10.7 thousand kilometers of highways are covered by construction and installation works, including 6.5 thousand kilometers of republican and 4.2 thousand kilometers of local roads. According to the results of the works, the share of roads in normative condition will reach 92% on the republican network and 87% on the local one. Such data was announced by Transport Minister Marat Karabayev at the Government session. 

Thus, today on the republican roads the work on construction and reconstruction of 3.6 thousand km is underway, of which 856 km will be fully completed. The coverage of capital and medium repair amounted to 2.9 thousand km with commissioning of 1.1 thousand km. 

This year, works are being carried out on 16 projects, 3 of which have been completed. These are the Big Almaty ring road, Kandyagash-Makat and Usharal-Dostyk highways.

"Taking into account the censures from the population, efforts were directed to the realization of 6 main projects of long-constructions with 4-5 years old. These are Taldykorgan-Ust-Kamenogorsk, Karaganda-Almaty, Merke-Burylbaital, Aktobe-Kandyagash, Atyrau-Astrakhan. Special attention is paid to the capital repair project of the West Kazakhstan region Kaztalovka-Zhanibek, Unige-Bisen-Saikhin with the length of 245 km, where the passage is currently provided on 220 km, full completion of the projects is planned in 2024," the speaker noted.

The construction season is coming to an end and the forces of JSC "NC "KazAutoZhol" are directed to winter maintenance of roads with the provision of equipment and de-icing materials. For winter maintenance of roads 142 thousand cubic meters and 25 thousand tons of technical salt have been prepared. The national operator mobilized 1.8 thousand units of winter equipment. 

"Due to the ongoing reconstruction works, the share of roads with four-lane traffic is increasing, which requires an increase in the number of road maintenance equipment. To solve this problem, an additional 379 units of the road maintenance equipment fleet have been purchased, including 245 units through the Industry Development Fund," the head of the Ministry of Transport said.

However, there is still a deficit of 1.1 thousand units of equipment, in connection with which the work on replenishment of equipment through preferential lending of the Industrial Development Fund will be continued. In addition, the maintenance of the country's roads annually requires funding in the amount of 60 billion tenge. In order to reduce the burden on the budget are introduced step by step toll road sections. 

According to Marat Karabayev, to date the toll system has been introduced on 3.2 thousand kilometers of roads. For 11 months of 2023 the fees amounted to 26.5 billion tenge. Next year it is planned to introduce tolling additionally on 1.2 thousand kilometers. In general, by 2029 the toll system will be gradually introduced on 11 thousand kilometers as reconstruction works are completed.

"It is worth noting that toll rates on toll road sections in Kazakhstan are the lowest compared to neighboring and non-CIS countries. In connection with the growth of transit flow, in order to ensure the safety of repaired road sections, systematic work is carried out to increase toll rates. Tolling is primarily aimed at collecting funds from transit vehicles, while for domestic carriers there is a subscription fee with the possibility of purchase on a monthly and annual basis," Karabayev noted. 

The main complaints about the quality of roads fall on the local network. To bring these roads to a normal condition, 4.2 thousand kilometers are covered by repair, of which 3.6 thousand kilometers will be completed this year. For these purposes 384 billion tenge have been allocated, of which only 81 billion tenge, or 21% are allocated from the local budget.

"At the same time, some regions with low indicators of road condition do not allocate funds from the local budget at all. This applies to West Kazakhstan, Kostanay, Abay, East Kazakhstan, Mangystau, Atyrau regions. Here akimats need to provide additional funding from the local budget for timely achievement of indicators of normative condition," the Minister emphasized. 

Quality control of the efficiency of the use of allocated funds by the "National Quality Center" is important. At the same time, only 85% of the local network is covered by quality expertise.

According to the head of the agency, low coverage of quality expertise is noted in Karaganda, Akmola and Kostanay regions. At the same time, while it is necessary to control the quality of work on the objects at least 4 times a month, in some regions there are facts of visiting the object 1 time per construction season.

"These are Zhambyl, Turkestan and Kyzylorda regions. To date, 27 thousand samples of road construction materials have been selected and tested, of which 2.9 thousand samples have been found to be non-compliant with the norms, and measures are being taken to eliminate them. Contractors at their own expense eliminated works worth 2 billion tenge. In order to fully cover the expert examination of the quality of works and materials, akimats should conclude contracts for full coverage of the expert examination of the quality of works and materials during the construction season. When accepting the facility into operation to be guided by the conclusion of the Quality Center to eliminate defects identified in the process of construction and installation works," the Minister recommended.  

Marat Karabayev assured that the pace of road construction works will be maintained next year. In 2024, it is planned to perform various works on 9.5 thousand km of roads, including 5.3 thousand km on the national line and 4.2 thousand km on the local network. As a result, by the end of 2024, they plan to increase the share of roads in standard condition up to 93% in the republican network and up to 91% in the local network.

"We are facing great challenges in the implementation of priority projects. According to the instruction of the head of state, 8 thousand kilometers of roads should be reconstructed by 2029. As already mentioned, next year the main major projects will be completed, and the equipment and labor force of construction companies will be freed up. Therefore, from 2024 we will gradually start construction of priority projects with a total length of 4.7 thousand kilometers. To solve this problem we are working on attracting funds from external and internal sources," the speaker said.

To date, for the projects "Saryagash bypass" and "Karaganda-Zhezkazgan" the source of attracting funds from Asian and global development banks has been identified. For the realization of other projects preparatory work is underway, financing mechanisms have been determined.

But the start of major projects will require increased production of road-building materials, as well as construction equipment and additional engineering staff. Therefore, to prevent shortage of road bitumen, measures are being taken to switch to cement-concrete roads and import bitumen. New quarries for aggregates were being explored and increased production of reinforced concrete products was envisaged.

Specific requirements for contractors to have their own fleet of road construction equipment have been stipulated in the contracts. As for the training of specialists, professional certification has been introduced.

One of the important issues in the implementation of new projects is the provision of land resources. To date, a number of difficulties arise in the process of land management of projects.

"In particular, procedures for returning land from private ownership last from 1 to 3 years. Therefore, akimats need to prohibit new projects from reserving the necessary land and transferring it into private ownership from that moment. In addition, under the current mechanism, the term of registration of quarries is up to 1 year, which negatively affects the timely implementation of projects. In this regard, assignment of tasks on registration of quarries to design institutes is being studied," Karabayev said.  

In accordance with the instruction of the Head of State, a number of works on reforming the highway industry are currently underway. 

First. By the end of this year all highway projects will implement the international principles of FIDIC and approve the relevant rules. 

Second. From 2024, new projects will be carried out under EPCM contracts. The contractor itself designs the road section, builds and maintains it.

Third. The necessary regulatory framework that meets international standards is being developed.

Fourth. The work on development of science and introduction of new technologies continues.

Fifth. A number of legislative amendments are envisaged to improve the quality and responsibility of participants in the construction process.

As for science and new technologies. The Kazakh Road Research Institute is conducting relevant studies on the introduction of new technologies in the road sector. Since the beginning of the year, 75 new technologies and materials have been studied. Of them 29 have been approved and are used in design and estimate documentation, 9 are at the stage of approbation. Laboratory tests are being conducted on 37 of them. Under the supervision of the institute's specialists 207 pilot plots have been built within the framework of approbation of materials with the specified technology. In addition, 19 new patents have been obtained for use in road construction.  

Within the framework of reforming the industry, 39 amendments to 6 legislative acts are being introduced. These amendments are aimed at signing a single contract for quality expertise, full implementation of projects, digitalization of quality control, creation of a base of road construction materials and raising the level of specialists. Currently, these initiatives are under consideration of the Majilis of the Parliament.

#Construction #Government session #Highways

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