Azerbaijani Deputy Transport Minister Musa Panahov was quoted as saying that construction of the Turkish part of the tunnel on the Georgian-Turkish border has been completed fully.

"This 800m section of the tunnel is now fully operational, and work is being conducted on almost 1.5km Georgian section. The works will be fully completed in 2015 that will enable (concerned countries) to start commercial operation of the railroad," Panahov said.

The work on the Georgian section began in the fall of 2013, and is being conducted by Turkish companies, which had built the tunnel from the Turkish side.

"In 2014 a work train will be put into operation via the new railway. This will allow start of work on preparation for the launch of commercial operation," Panahov said.

The start-up of the work train is scheduled for October. Delays in the construction of the railway tunnel are linked with changes in the intersection point of the Georgian and Turkish sections, that increased the total length of the connecting tunnel.

"The process of government change and structural reforms in Georgia justifies reason for the delays in implementing the project," Head of Azeryolservis JSC (road transport infrastructure) of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport Javid Gurbanov told journalists in late February… It led to the delay in the construction of the railway tunnel on the Georgian-Turkish border, he said.

Gurbanov said despite the fact that building the tunnels has been completed in Turkey, the work in Georgia’s territory has started recently due to the above-mentioned reasons.

The BTK railway is a regional rail link project that connects Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. After commissioning of the railway, mutual trade between Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey will increase significantly, with the total volume exceeding USD 10bn per year.