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No.1 project of Georgia opens to traffic

2023-11-02 10:40:15


The E60 Expressway is the most important transportation infrastructure across Georgia, known as the country’s “No.1 Project”.


The F2 section of E60 Expressway, with an amount of about 2 billion yuan (about US $ 290.8879 million), is a major project for Hunan’s joint construction of the “Belt and Road” and international production capacity cooperation. It is also the largest overseas single project and the most influential overseas project undertaken by Hunan Road & Bridge Construction Group Co., Ltd. (HNRB), a subsidiary of Hunan Construction Investment Group. It is of important strategic significance for HNRB to develop engineering construction markets in surrounding countries like Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and even in Europe.

The F2 project of E60 Expressway officially opened to traffic at 2:00 pm Georgian time on October 28, 2023 after 5 years of construction, and becomes another milestone event witnessing the great changes in Georgia.

Open a new chapter for Georgia’s transportation

On its first day of opening, the F2 section welcomed a continuous flow of vehicles. It connects the two tunnels on the east and west banks, with towering buildings in the distance.

“So far, 261 kilometers of the expressway project have been opened to traffic, of which 193 kilometers were completed during the tenure of the current government, and the most difficult and challenging section is the Rikoti section.” At the opening ceremony, Irakli Garibashvili, prime minister of Georgia, emphasized the great significance and difficulty of the project again, and congratulated it on its opening to traffic.

Peng Anping, chief engineer of HNRB, also celebrated the opening of the project on the site.


“The original E60 Expressway was the main road from POTI Port to Tbilisi. Due to its only two lanes each way and a large number of large trucks, it was often congested and needed 3 to 4 hours for less than 20 kilometers by car. Now it only takes 10 minutes. This is a good project that benefits the people!” said a villager of BORITI Village. She witnessed the opening ceremony on the site.

The E60 Expressway is the 60th expressway in Europe, starting from Brest of France and ending at Xinjiang's  Irkeshtam port near Kyrgyzstan along the Atlantic coast of France. It is the main trunk road connecting Europe and China. Since the 21st century, it has also become the main road connecting the mountainous areas between Zestaponi and Hassuri in Georgia.

However, with the rapid development of the world economy, Georgia has increasingly evident geographical advantages, and the original E60 Expressway could no longer meet the requirements of this increasingly busy international trunk line.

Therefore, the planning and construction of F2 project were particularly important.

In October 2018, the Highway Bureau of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia officially issued a letter of acceptance for the F2 project to HNRB.

The project is located in a narrow strip between the Great Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus mountain ranges of Central Georgia. With a total length of 12.2 kilometers, the first 2 kilometers needed demolition and reconstruction, and the rest was a new construction project. The main line is designed as a two-way 4-lane road, including roadbed, pavement, bridges, tunnels, culverts, electromechanical equipment, traffic safety installations, and greening project, with the main works of 38 bridges and 20 tunnels.

The F2 Section has greatly shortened the transport time between Tbilisi and Batumi and Poti, and the travel time from Georgia to Turkey, Central Asia, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is of great significance to promote the economic and social development of Georgia and the Eurasian region based on the transport location advantages of Georgia.


Seek new breakthroughs through innovation

On July 5, 2022, the left tunnel of No. 9 Tunnel of F2 project achieved safe holing-through. On October 25, 2022, the No. 13 steel beam bridge was built. On December 31, 2022, the first 9 kilometers of the project opened to traffic, which was the only project to open to traffic for the Zestaboni-Hassuri section of the E60 Expressway in 2022. On June 2, 2023, the main line construction was fully completed. It became the first section of the entire line to complete the main bridge construction.

Thanks to new models, equipment, processes, and technologies, the project could be progressed so fast.

The F2 project has 6 composite beam bridges of steel structure with spans ranging from 42 to 60 meters (a total length of 3,858 meters), and the total demand for steel beams is as high as 18,131.29 tons.

The project department overcame numerous local special difficulties in land acquisition, electricity and gas utilization, building material procurement, and procedures handling to build a steel beam factory with the largest scale and production capacity in Georgia through high-precision and high-efficiency advanced equipment with the construction funds of 35 million yuan (about US$ 5.5056 million), which was officially put into use in June 2021.


This project plan is the most economical one with guaranteed quality, and controlled construction period. Fixed assets such as land, factory buildings, and equipment were retained after the completion of the F2 project, providing basic resources for the company’s sustainable development in Georgia.

The project team continued to optimize and innovate the erection plan based on the actual situation and achieved the cantilever assembly plus semi-cantilever assembly of large-span (60m) steel beams without brackets.

Through on-site pre-assembly and precise punching, the new scheme of aerial single segment cantilever assembly and ground 5-segment pre-assembly has ensured construction quality, avoided the disadvantages of support installation and removal, and solved the problem of frequent river crossing and road crossing of bridges in the project where support cannot be installed.

The installation of 1,197 steel beams in the F2 project was completed on November 10, 2022, which made it the first section of the E60 Expressway to complete the installation of steel beams.

The F2 project passed through completely weathered and moderately weathered granite formations. Due to poor geological conditions like rich fissure water and long tunnel, the project department adopted the full cross-section construction method, and controlled the deformation of the rock mass by adjusting the strength and rigidity of the advanced core soil based on the “ADECO-RS” approach.

In response to the complex and ever-changing geological conditions, the project team implemented different excavation methods, including blasting, blasting machine excavation, and tunneling machine excavation, based on engineering practice to improve energy and efficiency.

In order to solve the shortage of various technical workers, the project used the most advanced construction equipment, such as cantilever tunneling machines, and three-arm rock drilling trolleys.


Receive support from departments at all levels

The F2 project received care and support from departments at all levels during the construction process.

On March 31, 2019, He Baoxiang (then vice governor of Hunan Province), vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, visited Georgia with Hunan’s business delegation for inspection. He came to the F2 project site for on-site inspections and encouraged all workers of the project department to overcome difficulties, ensure safety, and guarantee quality, to establish a brand and reputation for Hunan enterprises.

In 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic, many international flights were cancelled. In order to minimize the impact of the epidemic on the F2 project, HNRB received support from all parties by communicating with the Chinese Embassy in Georgia, the Georgian Highway Bureau, and the Georgian Infrastructure Department on the resumption of work and production, as well as chartering flights for the dispatch of personnel to Georgia.

On August 21, 2020, 142 workers and designers from HNRB and Hunan Provincial Communications Planning, Survey&Design Institute Co., Ltd. took a charter flight from Changsha to Georgia. It was the first international charter flight in Hunan for work and production resumption, and also the first international charter flight from China to Georgia for work and production resumption.

The F2 project received strong support from the Chinese Embassy in Georgia. Zhou Qian, Chinese ambassador to Georgia, and Zhao Chuanyi, economic and commercial counselor, visited the frontline employees of the project, and provided explanations to the project management team on Georgia’s new policies and current affairs.


Strive for high-quality development

On July 31, 2023, China and Georgia signed the Cooperation Plan for the Joint Construction of the Belt and Road.

The project department held a mobilization meeting on August 3, 2023 to call on all personnel to seize the current favorable season for construction, take effective measures to meet the deadline, and ensure engineering quality and on-site safety.

The project’s opening to traffic on October 28, 2023 will inject new vitality into the local economic development, especially the development of tourism, and contribute to the construction of a world-class construction and investment enterprise for Hunan Construction Investment Group.

In June 2022, HNRB won the bid for the E60 Expressway LOT3 project, which was the company’s second overseas single project worth over US$ 100 million. It will assist the company in obtaining the general contracting qualification for foreign aid complete projects, and has made it an AAA Credit Grade Enterprise by China International Contractors Association for six consecutive years.


Hunan Construction Investment Group will continue to build century-long quality projects, and promote the vigorous development of the transportation industry of the “Belt and Road” countries.