President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues!
Let us discuss the completion of one of the major projects both in St Petersburg and in Russia as a whole – the Western High Speed Diameter motorway, which runs from the port to the city and on to the Moscow route.
St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko: Mr President, I would like to note that despite all the difficulties and problems, the construction of the Western High Speed Diameter motorway shows that investors are interested in the city and in the country as a whole.
As you know, the construction of the central section is financed by private companies, a consortium of banks, including private ones. The construction is nearing completion.
Most of the construction work has been completed. Now all necessary documentation is being finalised so that the road can be put into operation. Mr Sokolov and I, if we can be so bold, would like to invite you to the opening ceremony somewhere in late November – early December. The last, most difficult section – the central section, which runs entirely along artificial structures, supports, bridges – has been completed.
Vladimir Putin: Its total length is over 70 kilometres, is that correct?
Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov: Over 46.
Vladimir Putin: I am talking about the total length.
Georgy Poltavchenko: With exits, it would be about 70 kilometres.
Maxim Sokolov: Mr President, if I may, this is the largest project not only in St Petersburg, or even our country, it is the largest public-private partnership project in the world. The fact that it was a success, in spite of the economic difficulties, is of course due to your support and good teamwork at all levels of project management.
The participants included Russian banks and foreign contractors. More than 5,500 people worked on this project (currently, on the central section), and six foreign participants, including financing organisations.
The central section is 11.7 kilometres long and includes four large bridges across the Neva delta. The highest bridge over the shipping channel is 52 metres, the one over the main waterway is 35 metres, and the one leading to Krestovsky Island is 25 metres.
In addition, a tunnel was built under Vasilyevsky Island for the Western High Speed Diameter motorway. The central section will provide the necessary synergy to the project. About 4 million people per month, or about 140,000 vehicles per day, are already the northern and southern portions.
Georgy Poltavchenko: 150,000 per day.
Maxim Sokolov: When we open the entire length of the Western High Speed Diameter motorway, this number will double to about 90 million vehicles per year. About 50 percent, even a little more, already drive through using transponders, so the project is a financial success already, before it is even operating at full capacity.
Vladimir Putin: In fact, it will take 20 minutes to cross the entire city of 5 million.
Georgy Poltavchenko: Twenty minutes from north to south. There are many unique technical solutions, especially on the central section. Six major Russian steel mills did work for this construction site. Import substitution was helpful, and there were many interesting technical and cable system solutions, including the anti-icing system developed by St Petersburg researchers. The system has been implemented, passed all the tests, and is working properly.
Vladimir Putin: The amount of orders was large indeed, and the total cost of construction, if memory serves, was about 120 billion roubles.
Maxim Sokolov: Yes, that is the central section. If you include the southern and northern sections, the total outlay will exceed 200 billion rubles.
Georgy Poltavchenko: 210.
Vladimir Putin: Well, I would like to thank you. I hope I will have the opportunity to thank the builders and the engineers, everyone who worked on this project, which the city and all of northwestern Russia really need.
Indeed, citizens will benefit greatly from it, as will the economy of northwestern Russia, with the connection of the port to the main motorways leading to Moscow.
Maxim Sokolov: We will integrate it into the international North-South corridor.
Georgy Poltavchenko: This is a whole new quality of life now. Do you know what is especially interesting, Mr President? This project is almost finished, but is not fully operational yet. However, businesses are already showing interest in another project, which is still in the making. I am referring to the construction of a multi-lane motorway at the junction of Fayansovaya and Zolnaya streets. That is the Eastern corridor.
Maxim Sokolov: A link road.
Georgy Poltavchenko: Right, another link road. There are already investors who are willing to join us on this project.
Maxim Sokolov: It is a public-private partnership.
Vladimir Putin: As far as I remember, public funds account for 40-something percent of the investment in this project.
Maxim Sokolov: Yes, of the total investment of 120 billion, slightly over 50 billion was public funding, and nearly 70 billion was private money.
Vladimir Putin: Very good. Private and bank money.
Maxim Sokolov: And bank money, yes.
Vladimir Putin: This is a very good project in this sense. Thank you.
Maxim Sokolov: Thank you.