The Roki tunnel is closing. (Photo: Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – The tunnel carrying the only road connecting Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia will be partly closed for the next three years, starting April 24, Russian media reports.

The Roki tunnel runs through the greater Caucasus mountain range and connects South Ossetia with the Russian republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

“In connection with the reconstruction of the Roki Tunnel from 12:00 GMT on April 24, passage of vehicles through the tunnel will be closed. Traffic will pass through the tunnel according to a multifunction reversible schedule,” Ria Novosti reports, quoting the press service of the federal treasury institutions’ management of the North-Caucasian Federal Highway.

It is assumed that traffic through the tunnel will follow a schedule, according to which vehicles will be allowed through for three hours in each direction, Ria Novosti writes.

The Roki tunnel was opened more than 25 years ago. Construction ended in 1985 during Soviet times. It is 3 660 meters long and lies at about 2 000 meters’ altitude.

Reconstruction work started in 2010 in a maintenance tunnel which runs parallel to it. Now that it has been reconstructed to take road traffic it will take over as a main passage for traffic, while Roki tunnel is given a face lift.

Anatoly Bibilov, Emergency Situation Minister of South Ossetia, said no one informed them about this and it’s unclear to them who made the decision. He says he will find out whether the report is true.

“And if it is true, then why wasn’t such an important decision agreed with the government of South Ossetia?” Bibilov asked, according to Res news agency.