Construction of the New Silk Road (Western China to Western Europe Transport Corridor)

Paper by Doug Davies, Resident Engineer, SMEC & David Dash, Pavement Advisor - at ASCP 2nd Conference 2013

The Government of Kazakhstan through the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) and the Asian Development Bank have financed upgrading road sections in Kazakhstan on the route between Western Europe and Western China, which is known as part of the New Silk Road.

The full Silk Road within Kazakhstan's territory is 2,800 km from Khorgos at the border with the People’s Republic of China to the western border with the Russian Federation. The overall investment needed to upgrade the Corridor is about USD 6.7 billion.

The purpose of the current project is to provide sustainable economic development and encourage increased domestic and international trade growth within Kazakhstan and between Kazakhstan and its trading partners on the Regional Highway connecting Almaty and Shymkent (approximately 740 km).

This paper details two contracts between Taraz and Korday with dual carriageways in plain concrete. Both contracts, each of about 40km length, were constructed between 2010 and 2012 at a project cost of USD 400 million. There were two Contractor’s, one South Korean and one Kazakh Contractor who were supervised by SMEC International acting for MOTC with the first author being resident engineer based in Taraz, 500km west of Almaty. Other projects, including flexible and rigid pavements, are being constructed concurrently.

Pavement design was based on Russian standards and Gost test methods were used.  Features of the equipment used, pavement details and environmental challenges are discussed and several could be considered for projects in Australia as the works were economically constructed to a specified equivalent 25 NAASRA counts (IRI = 1)

The 5m length slabs and large temperature differentials were challenges but cracked slabs were not accepted in SMEC supervised works.

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