A contract worth $19.6 million was signed for the technical studies of the construction of a new tunnel in Salang pass.
The contract was signed between the Ministry of Public Works and an Australian firm, SMEC, which is expected to launch its work for the technical studies in the near future.
The Chief Executive of the unity government Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was also present in the signing ceremony of the contract along with the other high level officials, including the Asian Development Bank official and the Ambassador of Japan to Afghanistan.
The Office of the Chief Executive said the Asian Development Bank and the government of Japan will jointly fund the technical studies contract for the new Salang tunnel.
The public works minister Mahmood Baligh said the firm will launch its studies regarding the available options for the construction of the tunnel, which includes the route between Khawak-Khenjan, and Doshi Bamyan.
He said the technical studies will also cover the rehabilitation of the existing tunnel and the firm is expected to present its recommendations to the government for the launch of the project.
In the meantime, the head of the Asian Development Bank said the new tunnel will play a key role in the transportation and transit in Afghanistan besides having a key role in the economic growth and regional connectivity.
The Japanese Ambassador said the government of Japan is committed to bear the 53 per cent cost of the project for the technical studies.