GYUMRI BYPASS AND GYUMRI-BAVRA ROAD SECTION
In January 2016, Lotti Ingegneria, as leading firm of the JV LOTTI - AIC, has been awarded the Technical Assistance contract for the “Feasibility Study, Environmental/Social Impact Assessment and Detailed Design of the Gyumri Bypass and Gyumri-Bavra road section, in Armenia”.
The project is financed by the EIB, that is also the Contracting Authority.
It is important to remind that, in 2015, Lotti has successfully completed another important assignment in Armenia, also financed by EIB, for the rehabilitation and improvement of the M6 Interstate Road, from Vanadzor to the Georgian Border (Bagratashen).
The services related to this new contract will start on February 2016 and are expected to last 20 months. The overall objective is to support the Government of Armenia to implement the North–South Road Corridor (NSRC) Investment Programme.
The road is part of the NSRC, and once completed, it will enable Armenian cargoes to be transported to Black Sea ports easily by a short route. The NSRC is part of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) which is an international transport programme involving the EU and 14 States of the Eastern European, Caucasian and Central Asian region, aiming at developing transport initiatives in the region.
Armenia, a landlocked country, has an economy that depends on transport and cross-border access (only two international borders are open: with Georgia and Iran).
The ports on the Black Sea, accessible through Georgia, provide one of the major access routes for commercial traffic. The Government is now giving priority to the rehabilitation of transport infrastructure and the proposed project is meant to promote economic development and support transit traffic.
The M1 road, from Gyumri to the Georgian border is one of the major arterial connecting the Republic of Armenia with neighbour countries, and is a vital infrastructure for the economic development of the country and the entire region.
Construction of an eastern Gyumri bypass was already started soon after the 1988 Spitak earthquake. The project was about 45% complete when it was abandoned in 1991, following independence. The new alignment could partially use the existing right-of-way but a comprehensive alternative study is required.
The existing two-lane paved road from Gyumri to the Georgian border (Bavra) has a total length of 80 km completely in Shirak Region in Armenia and the road improvements are envisaged to be upgrades to four lanes (SNiP standards category I or II).
The M-1 starts at Keti, which is 5km north of Gyumri, then passes through Ashotsk and ends at the Georgian border at Bavra. The terrain is mostly mountainous to rolling, with elevation of 2000m at the Keti pass and 1,750m at Keti, the road surface is in moderate condition. Just after Keti there is the most problematic point of the section: a succession of 4 hairpin bends (2 uphill and 2 downhill) to climb and descend the elevation of Keti Pass. The turning radii and cross section are relatively good, but the point still represents a sudden decrease in geometric characteristics of the road, a source of a much longer travel time, and most important a very dangerous spot, particularly in winter season with snow cover and icing. From Keti to Vardaghbyur the section after the pass is rolling, elevation drops to 1850 at Torusgygh and gently climbs again up to 2050 at Vardaghbyr – with a peak of 2100 just before it. The alignment is moderately gentle but tortuous. From Vardaghbyur to Ashtoks, the area is a depressed plain between very gentle hills, and up to Bavra the terrain is almost flat, the average elevation is almost 2000m.