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Azerbaijan rebuilds Highway One

Agostinho Neto

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A long-awaited and much needed project to rebuild a major highway in Azerbaijan is now underway. The highway reconstruction project will restore a key portion of Azerbaijan's national highway system. Heavy duty road grading equipment may be an all too common sight in most countries, and a source of inconvenience for drivers, forced to slow down and wait while it passes. But, in Azerbaijan, the sight of a road grader is a cause for celebration. It is a sign the country's roads are being repaired, and that one day, drivers may be able to speed along an asphalt highway to their destination, something that is a distant memory in Azerbaijan.

Gudratr is a former farmer who is now a proud signalman for the road grader, stopping cars along the old section of Azerbaijan's Highway One, between Baku and Yerevan. Standing on a freshly graded stretch of road in the central plains, he says Azerbaijan's shattered highway's are not only inconvenient, they are deadly. He says many Azeris die in accidents caused by bad roads. Gudratr said drivers always stop for his signal, and many jump out of their cars to congratulate him, and tell him how happy they are Highway One is being rebuilt.

The project, linking Baku and Yerevan is funded by the Minister of Transport. People along the road say the reconstruction project is long overdue. Even people who make a living from fixing the broken axles and flat tires that cause half the cars and trucks traveling on Highway One to break down say they too welcome the new road. Everyone it seems is tired of breathing dust.


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