EghtesadOnline: A subway development project in Karaj, the central city of Alborz Province, is in progress and two stations will be launched by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2021).
According to Ali Asghar Salavati, the head of rail transportation of Karaj Municipality, the construction of 6.2 kilometers of subway Line 2, between Golshahr and Jahanshahr neighborhoods in the city center, is almost done and two stations will become operational in a couple of months, Borna news website reported.
“Over 90% of the project have been implemented in the two stations, which will be launched after their ventilation and signaling systems are tested,” he said.
Salavati noted that Line 2 of the subway will be partially launched in two years, if adequate funds are injected.
After completion, Line 2 will connect Kamalshahr in the far west to Shahid Soltani Bridge in the east of the city with 27 kilometers of railroad and 27 stations.
Karaj Mayor Ali Kamalizadeh also said that the construction of Line 5 of Karaj subway is currently undergoing field studies and review.
The work is expected to commence in the current year, he added.
Line 5 will connect Rajaei-Shahr in the north to Mohammad-Shahr in the south of the city with 10 stations.
Karaj’s subway project was launched in 2006. A 102-km network of five lines, which will be connected to the Tehran-Karaj subway, has been planned. Karaj is 35 km west of Tehran.
Up until a few months ago, only 15 kilometers of the tunnels had been dug and the project has made little progress over the past 13 years, more because of a lack of will among urban officials than inadequate funding.
Alborz Governor General Azizollah Shahbazi also told reporters that the main reason behind the delay in the line’s completion is budget deficiency.
However, “the construction of tunnels is advancing rapidly,” he said optimistically.
On the contrary, some officials are pessimistic about the whole project’s development.
Mansour Vahidi, a member of Karaj City Council, says the metro project will not become operational even after six years.
“More than a decade has passed since the launch of the Karaj subway project, but mismanagement of resources and corruption have impeded progress,” he said.
“The progress so far is not meaningful compared to the total volume of construction ahead.”
Hossein Ardakani, another member of the city council, had earlier said over 500 workers using 420 pieces of heavy machinery are working round the clock on the project, stressing that lack of funds has always been a problem.
The councilor accused the former urban administration of undermining the project.
The sitting council was elected in May 2017 and has announced its determination to complete the subway “as soon as possible”. This is while the project’s infrastructure is not yet in place.
Mohammad Rostami, the project’s executive manager, told ISNA last October that since 2007, close to 5 billion rials ($18,181) have been spent monthly on the project, amounting to 700 billion rials ($2.5 million) so far.
Rostami had said that in the best-case scenario and given the current state of affairs, the first line of the subway network, which is 27 km long, will become operational in three years, provided monthly allocation increases to 800 billion rials ($2.9 million).
In short, he was asking for $104 million over the next three years.
The Alborz subway project is funded through several sources, including revenues from Karaj Municipality, government funding and bonds.
In late August, Rahim Khastou, vice chairman of Karaj City Council, said the budget allocated to the project is 10 times less than that of the Tehran subway project and that is why the work has not been proceeding well."
In September, the government authorized the issuance of participatory bonds worth 3 trillion rials ($10.9 million) to end the project’s stagnancy. City officials expect state financial support to expedite the process.