Work on Salang Pass to be completed soon
Witnessing severe blockades and snow slides in recent years, the Salang Pass is a key highway that connects nine northern provinces with Kabul. A tragedy that took place in 2009 claimed 170 lives. Another 125 passengers and drivers, trapped in heavy snow avalanches, were wounded.
Speaking with Pajhwok Afghan News, the deputy public works minister, Ahmad Shah Wahid, said the incidents would not happen again.
The pass reconstruction will be completed at a cost of $7 million (339 million afghanis), five million of which will be provided by USAID and the rest by the public works ministry.
About 20 percent of the work was left which would be completed before the winter, he said, adding several rooms with basic facilities had been built along the mountainous road to meet passenger needs in emergency situations.
The emergency rooms were constructed at 13 points, with the help of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, he said. "Preparations have been made to deal with possible painful incidents in winter."
About 80 percent of work had so far been done and the rest would be completed in the next two weeks, said the head of the Salang Pass Tunnel Maintenance Department, Gen. Rajab. The heating system was yet to be installed, he added.
Twenty-one snow galleries in southern and northernern parts of the tunnel needed reconstruction. Eleven of them had been rebuilt and the remaining 10 would be completed soon, he said. About 400 vehicles will be clearing the road of snow in the winter.
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