The World Bank has approved a $43m loan instalment for the Third East-West Highway Improvement Project (TEWHIP) in Georgia, US.

The bank granted the funds as a part of its reconstruction and development programme to improve the E60 highway.

The three-year TEWHIP project will upgrade the E60 between Sveneti and Ruisi to a dual-carriageway road and improve the East-West corridor, reduce road transport costs, aid in easy transit and enhance road safety.

World Bank South Caucasus regional director Asad Alam said that the programme is a major element of the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Georgia.

"It will not only strengthen Georgia’s competitiveness, economic growth and job creation prospects over the medium-term, but also help to stimulate economic recovery and create new employment opportunities in the immediate future," Alam added.

World Bank senior highway engineer and project team leader Rodrigo Archondo-Callao said the road works are expected to start during the summer of 2012 and completion is expected within three years from the construction start date.

"The Ruisi-Agara road carries high traffic – about 12,000 vehicles per day. Therefore, the road users will benefit from reduced traffic congestion and road accidents, and improved ride comfort," Callao added.

The TEWHIP project is also expected to aid the Georgia Government in reforming its transport sector, strengthening its roads department, as well as improving private sector participation in road maintenance and operations, road safety and engineering education.

The E60 highway is a key transport corridor that carries over 60% of the foreign trade that uses country’s roads.