Rustaveli Avenue to be overhauled: Many see political manouevring
Reconstruction of Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi
Next year, the Tbilisi Development Fund will start reconstruction of the central street of the capital of Georgia – Rustaveli Avenue. This was announced by the Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze at a meeting of the capital’s government. The reconstruction process will last more than two years and is planned to be completed by the end of 2026.
According to Kaladze, the first thing that to be done is to put the existing buildings in order, as “a very difficult situation has developed”.
What is City Hall going to do?
According to Kakha Kaladze, roofs, facades, and thegutters of buildings will be put in order. Some of them will be strengthened, as they were built quite a long time ago.
It is also planned to make decorative lighting according to modern standards.
According to the mayor, the last stage of the reconstruction will be the arrangement of road infrastructure; the old asphalt pavement will be removed, underground transport will be completely renewed.
“The road works will probably be completed when the main part of the facades is repaired,” Kaladze said.
During his mayorship, Kaladze has already renovated large avenues in Vake, Vere, Gldani and Isani districts of Tbilisi.
Now repairs are underway on Tsereteli Avenue (Saburtalo district) and Universitetskaya Street, which actually leads to transportation collapse in the city during rush hours. In addition, there are still problems with public transportation – there are not enough buses and the Tbilisi subway is so overloaded, especially during rush hours, that sometimes it is difficult for citizens to travel on it.
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Political context? Important elections will be held in Georgia in 2024
It should be noted that 2024 is the year of important parliamentary elections in Georgia. Part of the population believes that the work on the reconstruction of Rustaveli Avenue is to prevent mass rallies and demonstrations.
This is what people write on social networks:
“The authorities are waiting for rallies and can’t think of anything better [than blocking Rustaveli Avenue].”
“Well calculated! They made fountains and lawn in front of the parliament to reduce the space for people coming out for demonstrations and to prevent them! And also in the year of parliamentary elections they start to reconstruct Rustaveli! Clearly! Rustaveli and the surrounding streets will be blocked off and there will simply be no platform for protest!!!”
“They say two years, but doesn’t that mean five years?”
“I don’t understand the unnecessarily protracted renovations in the Avlabari neighborhood, for example. For how many years it has been in a terrible state, even today it is in ruins, but you don’t see anyone working. Why are there no penalties in the contracts? Under these conditions, repairing Rustaveli is even politically dangerous.”
“It’s all over! There will be a solid traffic jam here, too. And the neighboring streets will be jammed. Residents won’t even be able to open their windows, they won’t be able to let their children out to play in the street… Haven’t you realized yet that this man doesn’t love Tbilisi?”