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Auditors: Ring Road Millions Over Budget

Published: March 16, 2011 (Issue # 1647)


Overspending of nearly 500 million rubles ($17.45 million), including 200 million rubles ($6.98 million) on road repairs, has been uncovered in the accounts of the government agency responsible for overseeing the construction of St. Petersburg’s ring road.

The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation announced through its press department last Friday that an audit of the use of federal budget resources assigned during 2008-2010 to the Federal Government Agency “Directorate for the Construction of a Transport Bypass of St. Petersburg” (DSTO) had been carried out on March 5. The auditors discovered that DSTO had spent 218.7 million rubles ($7.63 million) to rectify rutting of the surface on parts of the ring road, in contravention of the contractual obligations of subcontractors. Moreover, the directorate assumed expenses of 300 million rubles ($10.47 million) for the relaying of four oil pipelines belonging to Peterburgtransnefteprodukt, which added further incidental expenditure to the budget.

The pipelines ran directly across the highway, explained a spokesman for DSTO. The extra expenditure on road repairs after last winter, meanwhile, was caused by the fact that subcontractors had not fulfilled their guarantee obligations on the sections of road they had laid, said the spokesman. According to him, this concerns three subcontracting companies that constructed sections in the region of the Vyborg Highway, the Murino Highway, and the cable-stayed bridge across the Neva River. The directorate is trying to recover the expenses from the three companies — Kosmos, Vozrozhdeniye and Mostootryad No. 19 — in court. According to information on the web site of the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast, between the end of December and the middle of February, DSTO filed claims for 65 million rubles ($2.27 million), 154 million rubles ($5.06 million) and 4.2 million rubles ($146,500) against the three companies respectively. The cases are still being reviewed.

However, a representative of Vozrozhdeniye claims that all the companies’ guarantee obligations in relation to the section of road in question expired before the beginning of last spring, and responsibility for the maintenance of the ring road lies with the directorate. A Kosmos employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the company could no longer guarantee the normal functioning of the elevated sections of the road, as the volume of traffic they carry is already significantly higher than that forecast in planning. An employee of Mostooryad No. 19 declined to comment for this article.

Instead of the predicted 110,000 vehicles per day, the road currently sees 180,000 automobiles, admitted the DSTO spokesman. Normally subcontractors give guarantees of between one and three years on similar construction projects, said Vladimir Kalinin, president of ABZ-1, a group of companies specializing in road construction. The guarantee periods can vary widely depending on the complexity of the project and the exact conditions of the contract.

Changes in the conditions of use of the structure could be grounds for the subcontractor to abdicate their guarantee obligations, said Maxim Kalinin, a partner at Baker & McKenzie.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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