Iranian President Muhammad Khatami will inaugurate Tuesday, August 28, Tehran's first-ever north-south subway network amid hopes that it will help de-congest traffic in the 10-million strong capital.
The "number one" train line, which will carry passengers from Tajrish square in northern Tehran to the southern parts of the capital, is intended to help "facilitate" circulation, Tehran subway director Muhsin Hashimi said during a press conference.
Hashimi expressed hope that officials would be able to extend the line all the way to the Imam Khomeini airport, which is still under construction some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of the capital in a few years time.
Tehran's first train network, the "number five," became operational two years ago and whisks residents from Karaj, 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) west of Tehran, to the capital.
Following Tuesday's inauguration, Tehran will have a 60-kilometer (37.2 miles) train network with a total of 30 stations. "But unfortunately, this is very insufficient," said Hishemi, who is the son of former president Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani. He added that "eight other stations must be constructed to respond to the needs of the city."
According to Hashimi, construction works to complete the project in Tehran will take several decades. "Up to now, 300,000 people are being transported by subway. Once the entire project is completed, the figure will surpass one billion people annually," he said. Annual construction costs are some $800 million, Hashimi said, ― (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )