Officials opening the new Zakho tunnel road project have revealed that further infrastructure projects in Duhok should improve both the provinces economy and also Kurdistan Region business ties with Turkey and Iraq
The new road tunnel includes modern lighting, air flow, and fire-fighting systems, according to Nihat Ozdemir, CEO of Limak Holding, the Turkish company which executed the project. He also revealed that the new tunnel will improve travel times, decrease traffic accidents and boost trade ties between Turkey, the Kurdistan Region, and Iraq.
Turkey’s representative in Erbil, Consul General Hakan Karacay, also hailed trade ties between the neighbours by saying “We believe that the infrastructure work completed here will have a positive impact on flow of goods. This road is opening up to the entire country, to the rest of Iraq,” he said. With the war against ISIS largely over, Turkey is looking to increase trade with Iraq with Karacay looking to significantly increase last years trade volume of $9 billion.
The tunnel project was initiated in 2013, but with IS insurgency in Northern Iraq a year later the project was put on hold before its completion this year. The Kurdistan Region, which has been overcoming economic difficulties as a result of the war, low oil prices, and a budget dispute with Baghdad, is hoping to restart many additional public projects which have recently been put on hold.
While marking the opening of the tunnel, Prime Minister Barzani announced the beginning of construction of the Roviya-Gopal road, which has been labelled "important and strategic". The 22 kilometre-long road will have six overpasses and eight designated animal-crossings and has received $80 million dollars of government contribution.
Barzani and the government aims to develop the potential of Duhok's economy, particularly across sectors including agriculture, tourism and natural resources.