High-Speed Toll Road Opens for Business
Published: August 8, 2013 (Issue # 1772)
After several delays since construction began in 2005, the northern part of St. Petersburg’s Western High-Speed Diameter — Russia’s first high-speed toll road — was opened in the presence of President Vladimir Putin on Friday. On Saturday the road, which is still undergoing final works, was opened to regular traffic.
The northern part of the WHSD, which cost the local and federal governments 36 billion rubles ($1.1 billion), runs 26.4 kilometers, from Primorsky Prospekt to the intersection with the E-18 Scandinavia highway in the area of Beloostrov village. At a speed of 100 kilometers an hour, drivers can cover the road in 15 minutes, and even faster at the official speed limit of 110 kilometers an hour.
Putin, who drove along the new road in a Mercedes, said such projects increase road safety and improve the economy. He emphasized the importance of the road as a strategic investment project that promotes the development of St. Petersburg as a transport hub.
“Initially we planned that this part of the St. Petersburg road system would be naturally connected with its sea trade port and that freighters would actively use it. So that is what is happening now, as I’ve been told. That’s what we’ve counted on,” Putin said at the opening ceremony.
“This means that the investments in infrastructure development we planned are being organized in the right way… It means we can rely on similar projects to attract private investors, both Russian and foreign, which is all the same to us,” he added.
St. Petersburg drivers have long been waiting for the opening of the northern part of the road, which will provide a direct route to the KAD ring road and to St. Petersburg’s resort area. It will also connect the Scandinavia highway to the ring road and to the network of federal roads leading to Moscow and the central areas of Russia. In addition, it will ease the traffic flow in the center of the city.
Only the southern part of the WHSD has been in use for the last few years. The southern section stretches from the city’s ring road to the embankment of the Yekateringofka River.
The northern section of the WHSD will help to significantly shorten driving times for residents of the city’s Primorsky district. They will be able to make it from the intersection of Primorsky Prospekt to the crossing with the Scandinavia highway in 20 minutes. The drive from Primorsky Prospekt to the ring road will take only 10 minutes. The northern section of the WHSD is also expected to lessen traffic jams on Primorskoye Shosse, Ulitsa Savushkina and Ulitsa Planernaya. The new road will allow residents of Bogatyrsky Prospekt to avoid the congested Ulitsa Planernaya on their commute home.
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