Mangystau Oblast is Kazakhstan's major oil- and mineral-producing region on the Eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.
Aktau, Mangystau's capital, is the regional hub for transporting the Caspian's bulky cargoes of oil and oil-related products to European and Asian countries. It is also used for transit traffic, connecting the surrounding oil field developers to other countries.
Aktau is an integral part of three international transport corridors; Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia, North-South, and Inogate. Cargo transported across the Caspian Sea amounts to 30 million tons, of which 38% is via the Aktau port.
Consequently, investments have been poured into pipelines, shipping services, and the Aktau port itself. As the spillover traffic from the pipeline and the transport of goods increases, the building of additional roads becomes indispensable.
More than half of the road surface in Mangystau Oblast is gravel or soil, and most of the paved sections are severely deteriorated and impassable.
Increased traffic by 7% annually puts a further burden on the Akau-Beineu road.
Despite its strategic role as an arterial route, the majority of the road is in poor condition, with steep slopes and sharp turns limiting the allowable speed. Congestion occurs daily, and the actual axle load of vehicles exceeds the road's design capacity. The road's inadequate serviceability and the consequent 12-hour travel time between Aktau and Beineu drastically increases transport costs and restricts the overall trade.
An investment program based on the Government's transport sector strategy will be developed to improve CAREC Corridor 2 roads in Mangystau Oblast. The investment program will connect Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, and Europe through the Caspian Sea to the west; to the Russian Federation to the north; to Uzbekistan to the southeast; and to Turkmenistan to the south. The investment program will effectively respond to bottlenecks, risks, and mitigation measures, which were assessed in the road map. (www.adb.org/projects)
After the road was paved, everyone in the region was excited about the smooth new road and traffic started to move. (with a smile)