Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has opened a key motorway that encircles the capital Tehran to ease traffic moving from west to the south and from east to the west of the country.
Rouhani attended a virtual inauguration ceremony on Thursday to open the Ghadir Highway, a 158-kilometer ring road that has cost some 70 trillion rials ($280 million) and five years to build.
The highway links the city of Abyek in the northern province of Qazvin to Charmshahr located to the southeast of the capital Tehran.
Authorities say the road will ease traffic passing through five Iranian provinces, especially in the province of Alborz where roads accommodate a bulk of traffic entering the capital Tehran.
It also reduces the length of travel from the west to the south of Iran by an average of 100 minutes while it significantly slashes fuel consumption and helps boost air quality in major cities like Tehran.
The six-lane highway has been jointly funded and executed by the government and the Khatam headquarters, a construction company affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Khatam contracted 34 companies and 2,000 civil engineers to finish the road. The IRGC firm will get back its 70-percent share of investment in the project from toll fees in a period of 20 years.
Reports said thousands of workers have been recruited during the various construction phases of the motorway while it will create 250 permanent jobs.
Rouhani hailed the project as a sign of the failure of the US sanctions on Iran. He said his administration would continue to expand the road network in the country until his second term expires next summer.