In the early 2000s, substantial work was done to restore infrastructure, which was in general disrepair, and to extend travel routes. Major new road and railroad projects were in progress in 2006.
In 2005 Turkmenistan had 2,440 kilometers of railroad line, most of which runs close to the northern and southern borders. The Tejen–Serakhs–Mashhad railroad, built in 1996 by Turkmenistan and Iran, has become a vital link of Central Asian, Russian, and European railroad systems with South Asia and the Persian Gulf. In February 2006, the final construction phase began on the Trans-Garagum Railway, a direct link between Ashgabat and Dashhowuz that will halve travel time between the southern and northern borders. Urban transportation systems are being upgraded in Ashgabat, Dashhowuz, and Mary.
Railway links with adjacent countries
Cities served by rail
In 2001 Turkmenistan had an estimated 22,000 kilometers of roads, about 18,000 kilometers of which were paved. One major highway runs westward from Mary, along the Iranian border through Ashgabat and then to Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea; a second runs northwestward from the Afghanistan border through Turkmenabat, along the Uzbekistan border to Dashhowuz. In the early 2000s, major road-building projects improved sections of the highway connecting Ashgabat with Turkmenbashi and Mary.
The main inland waterways are the Amu Darya River, which runs along the northern border, and the Garagum Canal, which runs from east to west from the Amu Darya near the Afghanistan border through Mary and Ashgabat to Turkmenbashi on the Caspian coast. The 1,400-kilometer canal, designed mainly for irrigation, is navigable for 450 kilometers from its Caspian terminus. Because water is withdrawn for irrigation, the Amu Darya is navigable only about 250 kilometers downstream from the Afghanistan border to Turkmenabat.
250 km; natural gas
Ports and harbours
The main port at Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea is being renovated. Main shipping lines cross the Caspian to Astrakhan in Russia and Baku in Azerbaijan. Smaller Caspian ports are Alaja, Chekelen, and Ekarem. Plans call for expansion of Ekarem into a second major Caspian port. In 2006 Turkmenistan had eight merchant marine vessels of more than 1,000 tons displacement, of which four were cargo ships, two were oil tankers, one was for refrigerated cargo, and one was a combination ore and oil ship.
In 2006 Turkmenistan had an estimated 29 airports, of which 22 had paved runways and one (at Ashgabat) had a runway longer than 3,000 meters. One heliport was in operation. In the mid-1990s, the Ashgabat airport was enlarged and modernized. Smaller international airports are located at Dashhowuz and Turkmenabat. Air travel within Turkmenistan on the national carrier, Turkmenistan Airlines, often is unreliable. Flights are available from Ashgabat to Armenia, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Moldova, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan
Airports - with paved runways
2,438 to 3,047 m:
1,524 to 2,437 m:
914 to 1,523 m:
1 (1994 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways
914 to 1,523 m:
under 914 m:
35 (1994 est.)