Work has started on the upgrade of 13 highways totaling 3,093 kilometers in Iran. These highways are being improved to achieve a freeway status, according to sources within the Islamic Republic. In addition to the road widening and expansion projects, work has started on converting the 177km Zanjan-Qazwin railroad to the northwest of the capital Tehran into a double track.
The double-track operations of the recently upgraded Bafq-Isfahan-Zarrinshahr has also commenced. The rail line stretches over close to 500km of track. Funding for these schemes came from the national annual budget allocated to the Ministry of Roads & Urban Development (MRUD). Local contractors are executing the projects.
It is understood a plan has also been launched to connect Imam Khomeini International airport (IKIA) to all major ports by railroad. Reviving its ageing rail network is a key priority for the Iranian government following the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions earlier this year.
The recent lifting of nuclear-related international sanctions has meant the plan is likely to come to fruition in the near future, or as soon as the funding structure is finalized. Two of the confirmed companies that have expressed an interest in the project are France’s ADPI Group in partnership with local Rah Shahr International Group, and France’s Buoygues. The bid date for Terminal 2 has not been confirmed.
Iran has more than 10,000km of rail track, of which only 181km is electrified. European, Indian, Korean and Chinese firms have signed several agreements with the government to upgrade various rail tracks segments, supply modern trains, or build speed rail systems.
Apart from facilitating more efficient passenger movement within Iran, improving the country’s road infrastructure is directed towards reviving the ancient Silk Road trade route from East Asia to Europe.