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City news
New highway between St. Petersburg and Moscow gets Putin's nod
02.03.2004 13:40

Highway between St. Petersburg and Moscow Construction of a new highway between St. Petersburg and Moscow has been approved by President Vladimir Putin, according to the Russian Transport Ministry. During his visit to St. Petersburg last week President Putin discussed the issue with St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, who said the Russian government has already been asked to start working on the project.

According to Alexander Gryaznov, a spokesman for Rosavtodor, a state service within the Transport Ministry that builds and maintains roads, the cost of the new highway could reach $5 billion. Most of the cost would be covered by the state but the project would need extensive investment, Gryaznov said.

Many experts believe that investors for the new road project would be very hard to find.

Lev Savulkin, an analyst with the Leontieff Center in St. Petersburg, said investors would shrug at the sound of a new project. "Foreign investors have had enough of those grandiose enterprises, Russian-style," the expert said. "Memories of the VSM embarrassment are still fresh. Even the hole at the Moskovsky Station [where terminal buildings were due to be built] is still there, as a vivid reminder."

According to Gryaznov of Rosavtodor, development of the new project and negotiations with investors may take several years. "The general strategy already exists: we know the highway should avoid running through large cities and towns, since diverting communications would make the construction much more expensive, but things like the number of lanes and intensity of traffic must be calculated," he said.

News source: www.sptimes.ru
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