A feasibility study will be launched to examine possibility of building a road tunnel through Caucasus Mountains to connect Karachay-Cherkessia, republic located in northwest of Russia’s North Caucasus region with Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia.
“Experts [from Russia’s Transport Ministry] are due to arrive in next few days and the all the information [results of study] should be ready no later than December 1,” Boris Ebzeyev, president of Karachay-Cherkessia, said in an interview published by Russian news website, Gazeta.ru on September 27.
He said there were two options on the table, one involving restoring of an old, 340 km long Sukhumi Military Road passing through Kodori gorge in Abkhazia through Klukhori pass to Karachay-Cherkessia’s capital Cherkessk - the road remains dysfunctional for decades already; and another option is through Arkhiz pass.
The both options would require digging a tunnel to protect the road from avalanches and to keep it operational even during the winter period, President of Karachay-Cherkessia said.
He said that the project was of vital importance for his republic, because through this potential road land-locked Karachay-Cherkessia would gain access to the Black Sea via Abkhaz ports. He also said that the road would help to attract more tourists in his republic and it would be much shorter route to access Abkhaz Black Sea coast rather than through currently existing only land road between Russia and Abkhazia, which connects Sochi district with the breakaway region.
The idea of building a new road was emerging time after time previously, but deliberations on the matter intensified last year. It was reported at the time that in case of selecting Klukhori pass for a new road, it would require digging of 12-km long tunnel, while the alternative option would require less than 5-km long tunnel.