This photo taken on July 11, 2023 shows an interior view of the Sidi Aich Tunnel, part of the Bejaia Highway that starts from the Bejaia port and connects to the East-West Highway, in Sidi Aich, Algeria. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Sidi Aich Tunnel, part of the Bejaia Highway project built by the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) in northern Algeria, has opened to traffic.
An inauguration ceremony was held on Thursday evening, attended by Lakhdar Rakhroukh, the Algerian minister of public works, Kamel Eddine Karbouche, governor of Bejaia Province, and Zhuo Lei, chairman of CRCC International Ltd.
The 100-km six-lane highway, starting from the Bejaia port in the north, connects to the East-West Highway, the country's economic artery, in the south.
The operation of the Sidi Aich Tunnel, which covers 84 km of the entire highway, will improve traffic flow in the key sections connecting Bejaia to the rest of the country.
In his speech at the ceremony, Rakhroukh thanked all parties, including CRCC, for their efforts to open the tunnel.
The minister said the tunnel construction has overcome various challenges and its opening would obviously alleviate the traffic congestion that has long plagued Bejaia residents and benefit people in neighboring provinces as well.
Bejaia Governor Karbouche said the tunnel's opening would bring convenience to nearby citizens by cutting the one-way travel time between Takeriet and Timezrit from one and a half hours at most to only 15 minutes.
Karbouche also reassured CRCC that the local government would fully support the company in completing the remaining sections of the Bejaia Highway.
Zhuo Lei, for his part, said that his company, since entering the Algerian market 17 years ago, had participated in the construction of the East-West Highway and the Bejaia Highway, among others.
While building the bridges and roads that enhance the friendship between the two peoples, CRCC has been firmly committed to its social responsibilities and contributed to engineer training, emergency rescue and disaster relief, and fighting the epidemic, he added.