Construction of the “Moscow – Saint-Petersburg” express highway is envisaged within the framework of program “Improvement and development of the motor road network of the Central Federal District for the period up to 2010”, being a part of subprogram “Motor roads” of the federal special-purpose program “Development of transportation system of Russia (2010 – 2015)”, approved by the Decree of the Government of the RF dated 5.12.2001 №848.
On July 27, 2009 the Federal Road Agency and “North-West concession company” LLC (a consortium in which European company Vinci participates) signed a concession agreement on financing, construction and toll-based operation of Moscow – Saint-Petersburg express highway, km 15 – km 58. Among countries broadly using the concession agreements nowadays there are such countries as France, Italy, Portugal, as well as dozens of other states of continental Europe. The whole experience of prerevolutionary development of Russia is a cogent argument for concessions.
Central Federal District has broad transportation, inter alia, motor road, communication systems with countries of Central and Western Europe, in particular, with Germany. At the present moment transit communication with North-Western Federal District and further on with the countries of Western Europe are carried out throughout “Rossiya” highway. Emergence of modern safe express highway between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg will allow releasing the communication between two cities. The highway will take up the major part of transit cargos, unloading currently existing M-10 highway. New express highway is planned to be constructed from Moscow bypassing towns Tver, Novgorod, Khimki, Solnechnogorsk, Klin, Tver, Torzhok, Bologoe, Vyshniy Volochek, Valdaisky national park and Novgorod and Tosno. The drivers will be able to reach St. Pete very fast throughout safe highway. The total travel time from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg will be 5-6 hours, now it is at least nine hours of travel throughout a highway of not the best quality.
One of the most loaded sections is a section nearby MKAD (up to the junction to the access to Sheremetyevo airport). Sheremetyevo is 10 mln passengers per annum. Majority of them uses just motor vehicles. A huge amount of inhabitants of Zelenograd, Solnechnogorsk and Khimki spends hours in traffic jams while going to work and back, staying near the transit freight vehicles. Solution of these problems is the main goal of construction of the head section of the express highway (15-58 km). First of all, the highway will ease the lives of those who travel every day from near-Moscow towns to Moscow to work, who travel to the airport, as well as those who live in a town through which the federal highway goes, thanks to improvement of the transportation and environmental situation due to releasing traffic from the existing roads.
Construction of the first section of the highway on the basis of the concession agreement will allow, by adopting the advanced experience of the world leaders in this sphere, to receive a highway of modern quality, meeting safety requirements, to increase the capacity of motor road network of areas near Moscow, to create new work places, to improve the environmental situation in the settlements through which overloaded M-10 highway goes at the present moment.
Construction will commence in 2010. Construction term is 3 years. The total project investment cost is around 60 bln roubles, nearly 23 bln roubles are allocated by the Russian Government, and the rest is attracted or invested by the concessionaire.
The total length of the head section of the “Moscow – Saint-Petersburg” highway is 43 km 108 m. Traffic speed on new highway is 150 km/h, total number of lanes is 8 -10. Automatic Traffic Management System will be installed on the highway, rest areas will be arranged, and modern communication with application of the last advances of the information technologies, towing service, emergency communication points will be provided. Even saying nothing of the fact that the central barriers and lighting will be arranged along the whole length of the highway. The overall quality of service of the highway users will overpass all existing ones in Russia.
The amount of the average-weighted toll rate will be 3,6 Rub/km according to the results of the tender. The average-weighted toll rate is formed from the tariffs for the different groups. One of the requirements to the concessionaire is a balanced and socially acceptable level of toll. When determining the level of tariff the experience of West Europe was used, where the toll rate is determined, first of all, by the social and economic variables of the region, and by return on investments but only on a second-priority basis.
The toll rate will be different for those who use the highway one-time, and for those who regularly use the highway. The main load will be on transit transport. Also the level of tariff will differ depending on the type of vehicle (more expensive for trucks), season, time of day, day of week and etc.
The beginning of the highway (km 15) is planned to be on Bussinovskaya interchange of MKAD. The first toll plaza will be 6 km away from MKAD. That means that the inhabitants of left bank of Khimki and the inhabitants of Dolgoprudny will receive new transport accesses of European quality to Moscow, and they will be free-of-charge for them. In addition the solutions on construction of the access to Korovinskaya interchange with its partial upgrading had been developed within the scope of the project. It will provide additional transport communication between Dolgoprudny and Moscow.
Further on the highway will go east-wards and north-east-wards of Khimki, cross the Moscow Channel, Mezhdunarodnoe Shosse (access to Sheremetyevo-2 airport), bypass district “Molzhaninovo” of Moscow from north, and cross Sheremetyevskoe Shosse (access to Sheremetyevo-1 airport). The highway will cross the access to Zelenograd, Klyazma river four times, Big Moscow Railway Ring on Povarovo - Iksha section, Small Moscow Ring, and a number of other roads and it will adjoin to M-10 “Rossiya” highway by interchange at 58th km.
The project provides for monitoring of environment near the highway, including automatic air contamination control system consisting of 6 stations, and observing by means of mobile specialised laboratory; compensatory planting, construction of ecoducts on the animal migration paths, installation of protective shields are envisaged. Bypassing the spring of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and possibility of access of the inhabitants of Khimki district to it are envisaged. The project passed all environmental appraisals (opinion of the State Environmental appraisal, approved by the decree of Rostekhnadzor dated 06.09.2006 №829), received positive opinions of Glavgosexpertisa (№909-07/ГГЭ-5074/04 dated 20/11/2007 and №277-10/ГГЭ-5074/04 dated 09/04/2010). Public hearings regarding the section going through the area of Khimki district were held on May 12, 2005. The public made a number of remarks which were considered in the project, for example, the project adjustments allowing bypassing gardeners’ partnership “Poyma”, avoiding breaking of houses, were performed. The chosen alternative of the highway route was recognized as environmentally and economically justified.
Emergence of the first section of the highway, this first Russian autobahn will ease, first of all, the lives of the inhabitants of North-West areas near Moscow, will provide new speedy access to Sheremetyevo airport, to towns Khimki, Dolgoprudny, Zelenograd, will release traffic of the section of existing M-10 “Rossiya” highway going throughout Khimki, which will become an alternative for free-of-charge passing.