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France Withdraws From Tehran-Caspian Freeway Project

TEHRAN, Nov. 6 (Mehr News Agency) - The French partner of the Tehran-Shomal (north) Freeway project has withdrawn from financing the project, the Mehr News Agency reported on Friday.

MNA quoted Iranian Minister of Roads and Transportation Hamid Behbahani saying that the project's Chinese partner has announced its readiness to shoulder the share of the French side.

A consortium comprised of two French banks and one Chinese bank had agreed to finance the project on a 50-50 percent basis.

The idea to construct the Tehran-Shomal Freeway was for the first time proposed in 1965, but was never put to action until 1996.

The giant plan includes construction of more than 30 twin tunnels. The Alborz tunnel situated at an altitude of 2,450 meters will be the longest with a length of 6,300 meters.

The four-lane freeway has a length of 121 km with a transport capacity of 6,000 vehicles per hour, and provides a shortcut from the capital Tehran to the Caspian province of Mazandaran, reducing travel time from nearly five hours to less than two.

Once completed, the passenger transfer capacity between the two provinces will increase 20 times, which is much needed since Tehran-Mazandaran road is one of the busiest throughout the country, especially during national holidays when Mazandaran hosts a large number of tourists.

... Payvand News - 11/06/09 ... --

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