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Long Awaited Eastern Ring Road Opens

Published: September 8, 2006 (Issue # 1202)


The eastern half of the ring road around St. Petersburg, or KAD, an ambitious project aimed at solving many of the city's traffic and environmental problems was officially opened Thursday."Now all cargo transport will be eliminated from the city center entirely, which will significantly improve the transport and the ecology situation in the city," Governor Valentina Matviyenko said Thursday.

The construction of the road included building the new Bolshoi Obukhovsky suspension bridge, also known as Vantovy Bridge, a new St. Petersburg landmark and one of the 40 biggest suspension bridges of this kind in the world.

Opened for traffic on Friday, the bridge will have further lanes added and be complete in 2007, Interfax reported on Thursday, citing Matviyenko.

The eastern section of the road allows drivers to bypass the city on north-south routes and connects the Primorsky and Moscow trunk roads. Construction on the $2 billion project began in 2001.

The newly opened road has "international significance" Russia's transport minister Igor Levitin told the Interfax news agency on Thursday because as from Friday vehicles will be able to travel directly to and from Moscow and neighboring countries without passing through St. Petersburg's center.

According to the City Hall, the government paid for the road's interchanges and ramps, while other costs of the road were met by investors.

However some experts say that the low number of ramps on and off the road significantly hampers the development of industrial areas alongside it, where logistics centers, warehouses, trading and entertainment facilities and major residential areas are planned.

"Of course the opening is a very important event for the city. Now we will have fewer traffic jams, lesser gas pollution, and fewer through-traffic in the city," said Alexander Veretin, communications deputy director at KAD-L, a state-run developer of the area alongside the road. "But the road is also of fundamental importance to its investors, and problems with the ramps still have to be solved."

"Four ramps were excluded from the initial project to save money, but the Leningrad Oblast administration, including our organization, believe that not only that the four ramps should be returned to the project but there is also a need for an additional two to be built," Veretin added in the interview to the St. Petersburg Times on Thursday.

If this is were to happen, the road would boost development in the area, Veretin said.

KAD-L has already signed $1 billion worth of contracts to develop the areas alongside the new road, with a further $3 billion estimated to be signed within the next two years.

Maxim Kharitonov, marketing manager of Euro Motors, a Ford dealership in St. Petersburg, thinks that regardless existing problems with the ramps the area around the road will be developed quickly.

"I know for a fact that many car dealers plan to build their showrooms alongside KAD," Kharitonov told the St. Petersburg Times on Thursday. "The defiencies in the road's infrastructure is less of a problem than the problem of finding a place to open a new showroom in the city. There are not many suitable sites left in St. Petersburg."

The ring road is to be completed in 2008 when the western half is due to be finished. City Hall said this will cost a further 25 billion rubles on its website on Thursday.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Nov. 26


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee will meet this afternoon in their office in the New St. Isaac’s Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha at 4 p.m.


Zoosphere, an international exhibition focusing on the pet industry, opens today at the Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island. Not only will items such as toys, terrariums and accessories be available for purchase, but animal enthusiasts can also learn about the latest in veterinary medicine and behavioral training thanks to the conferences and presentations that are part of the event.



Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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