The tunnel connects the Tajik capital to the country's second largest city, Khujand, travel to which, prior to the tunnel's construction, required travelers to cross the border into Uzbekistan in order to travel between the two cities. It is also a transit route between Dushanbe and Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. Prior to construction of the tunnel, especially during winter, the threat of year-round avalanches led to periodic disruptions of commerce.
Anzob tunnel was dubbed a symbol of brotherhood between the peoples of Iran and Tajikistan, who share a common history, language, and culture. Its construction put an end to Uzbekistan's ability to halt traffic between Tajikistan's two largest cities. It marked the beginning of other major co-operative projects such as the Sangtuda-2 power plant.
The tunnel is also said to be part of a planned road which would run from Iran through Herat in western Afghanistan and Mazar-i-Sharif and Sherkhan Bandar in northern Afghanistan to Tajikistan and from there up to China. The route has been named the new Silk Road.
Tunnel was officially opened in March 2006; it is build by the Iranian Saber International consortium. Due to the significance of the tunnel, limited traffic flow was permitted via signing a waiver form noting potential hazards such as flooding and smog from construction equipment operating inside the tunnel prior to the final construction phase which included installation of ventilation and drainage infrastructure.
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