“We have chosen the most sensible alternative from those available, taking into account security, timing and length of the road. This will be a completely safe road,” said Alexander Bakhtamyan, director of Project Implementation Unit (PIU) at the Transport Ministry.
The road Paravakar-Vazashen has been officially closed for three months. On October 22 last year, one soldier died and three were wounded when their car came under fire while travelling along this stretch of the road.
“Last year three soldiers died and 11 people were wounded in this stretch of the highway. Two of the wounded were civilians. The road is overlooked by the military positions of the opposing side, hence, a decision was made to build a new road that will be more secure,” said colonel Andranik Mkrtumyan of the Operations Division of Defense Ministry's Armed Forces.
The road under construction is far from the Azerbaijani positions and will have a 2-metre high earthen bank. Before the construction is finished, the residents of the adjacent villages will have to resort to two alternative roads Berd-Chambarak and Ber-Itsakar-Gandzasar-Ijevan. Although both roads are in need of repair, they are still passable by vehicles.
“I myself travelled along Paravakar-Vazashen road in December, but we urge residents to use the alternative roads for security reasons,” said Artak Sargsyan, head of Transport and Road Construction Department of the Tavush regional administration, admitting that one of the roads was sometimes blocked by snow in winter, while the second onе was hard to drive on.
As Bakhtamyan put: “The road construction company Ijevan Chanshin was doing all but impossible to put the road into comission on time.” The road was far from the military positions [of the Azerbaijani side] while the safety of the construction workers is out of question.
“No victims and high safety – this is our approach. We have chosen the most secure stretch of the road,” said Lieutenant Colonel Suren Darbinyan, head of Department of International Military Cooperation of the Defense Ministry's Defense Policy Division.
70 per cent of the earthworks of the new road have been completed. Weather conditions will only allow finishing the construction in June, providing a short and safe road that will connect the villages of Vazashen and Paravakar.
On January 22, a discussion was held in Media Center. The event was dedicated to the closure of Paravakar-Vazashen road, as well as the construction of alternative road and security concerns in Tavush region. Lieutenant Colonel Suren Darbinyan, head of Department of International Military Cooperation of the Defense Ministry's Defense Policy Division, colonel Andranik Mkrtumyan of the Operations Division of Defense Ministry's Armed Forces, Alexander Bakhtamyan, director of Project Implementation Unit (PIU) at the Transport Ministry and Artak Sargsyan, head of Transport and Road Construction Department of the Tavush regional administration, were the guest speakers of the discussion event.
The discussion was initiated by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting Armenia office in cooperation with Media Center.