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Construction of Ring Road Hits Snag

Published: October 2, 2001 (Issue # 709)



  • The first section of the Ring Road, near Vyborgskoye Shosse to the north of the city.
    Photo: Sergey Grachev / The St. Petersburg Times

Construction of the ambitious $1 billion Ring Road around St. Petersburg could be delayed by a recent Supreme Court decision, project managers and Legislative Assembly lawmakers said on Monday.

The court ruled last week that the federal government had broken at least five federal laws, the Land Code and the Federal City Development Code with a decree it issued in March in order to speed up construction of the project.

The 154-kilometer Ring Road was begun in 1994 and is intended to reduce the volume of traffic in downtown streets by as much as 50 percent. The project includes a 1.8-kilometer suspension bridge across the Neva River and a flood-control dam in the Gulf of Finland.

The Supreme Court ruling came in response to a suit filed this summer by the Izhora Green Movement, a non-governmental organization based in the Frun zensky District, that alleged that the rights of area residents had been infringed by the project management, particularly by a government order this spring authorizing construction to proceed.

"[The project's managment] has completely ignored the interests, rights and opinions of the local population and local self-government bodies, including those of Metallostroi, with a population of 30,000; Ust-Izhora; and Pontonny," the Izhora Green Movement petition reads.

According to a project document entitled "The Structure of Traffic Flow on the Ring Road," traffic volume on this part of the road will increase by nine times by 2020, reaching an estimated 45,300 vehicles per day.

Vera Gordienko, head of the Izhora Green Movement, authored the petition, in which she complained that construction on the project began even before a plan had been approved or required state environmental and sanitation reports had been filed. She also noted that the views of local residents had not been taken into consideration.

"No financing has been allocated and no measures have been planned to reduce the impact of traffic noise and exhaust fumes along the section from St. Petersburg to Kirovsk, which is a clear violation of our constitutional right to a safe environment," Gordienko said.

Sergei Podkuiko, a spokesperson for the project management, confirmed that the documentation cited by Gordienko had not been prepared in advance.

"Government decree No. 305 authorized us to expedite construction in this way in order to complete the work more quickly," Podkuiko said on Monday. "The project plan will be approved on Oct. 15, which will eliminate one of the major reasons for the suit."

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