Alternative North-South Road (Phase 2)

Location: Kyrgyzstan
Sector: Rail and Road Connectivity
Total cost: $ 30 mln 
Chinese partner: The Export - Import Bank of China
China Road and Bridge Corporation
Kyrgyzstani partner: Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Transport and Roads
Construction start: 2014
Putting into commission: 2021 

Partners summary

The Export-Import Bank of China is a state-owned policy bank with the status of an independent legal entity. EXIM Bank plays a crucial role in promoting steady economic growth and structural adjustment, supporting foreign trade, and implementing the “going global” strategy. The Bank has been active in various projects in Kyrgyzstan, often linked to BRI. In May 2018, the Kyrgyz debt to this bank amounted to $ 1.5 billion, which should be paid back in a period of 5 years. [1]

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is one of the four large state-owned companies in China that earliest entered into the international engineering contracting market. CRBC mainly undertakes contracting, investment, development and operation projects such as road, bridge, port, railway, airport, tunnel, real estate and industrial parks. Guided by the “Go Global” and “Belt and Road” initiative of China has seized the opportunity for CRBC to expand business and raise core competitiveness. China Road and Bridge Corporation entered the market of Kyrgyzstan in 2001 and formally established the CRBC Kyrgyzstani Office in 2002. Since then, it has undertaken over 20 projects with an accumulating distance of 658 km. And its key ongoing projects mainly include North-South Second Highway Construction Phase I and North-South Second Highway Construction Phase II. [2]

Description of the project

An additional uninterrupted transport route will be established between the north and south of the country, which is geographically separated from the existing Bishkek–Osh route by mountain ranges. The connection of this road with the roads of Kazakhstan and Russia in the north and Tajikistan in the south will allow for the creation of a Russia–Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan–Tajikistan route bypassing the Republic of Uzbekistan. The 433-kilometer alternative road will be built in three phases. [3]    

Phase 1 (154 km) will connect the villages of Kyzyl Jyldyz and Aral, and the village of Kazarman and the city of Jalal-Abad in the south. It includes sections covering kms 183–195 and 291–433, including a tunnel that is 3.8 km long. The cost of Phase 1 is $400 million. To the project, Exim Bank of China allocated a loan for a period of 20 years at 2% per annum with a grace period of 11 years. The construction started in 2014.

Phase 2 (96 km) will connect Aral and Kazarman, and will build a 700-meter tunnel. The cost of Phase 2 is $284 million. 

Phase 3 (183 km) will connect the city of Balykchi at Lake Issyk-Kul and Kyzyl Jyldyz village. The cost of Phase 3 is $166 million. [4]