President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
I have been wanting to see you since I saw the results of your work in Kaliningrad. You built a very good road, of very high quality. I hope we will be able to continue this kind of work in Kaliningrad. I know there is little road construction right now, but there are plans to develop the road system in Kaliningrad Region. The plans have not been given up; we will continue this work in Kaliningrad Region.
I have seen this road project here. Several days ago, I flew over practically the entire route. How long is overall? 282 kilometres?
Valery Abramov: 250.
Vladimir Putin: 250, in Crimea. But there is also Sevastopol, so 282.2 in all.
Valery Abramov: With access roads, it will be 258.
Vladimir Putin: All right, you know better. I have 282.2 in my notes, but that is not important. These are details. It is important that it opens on schedule.
As I understand it, the first two-lane section has already been launched. How is work proceeding? What do you think about what still has to be done?
Valery Abramov: Mr President,
To begin with, thank you very much for allowing us to be here to tell you about our construction projects and deadlines.
I would like to give the floor to my first deputy, Mr Perevalov, who is the managing builder in our company; he can report section by section. For my part, I can tell you that the Tavrida highway will be put into full service in December of next year.
Vladimir Putin: As a four-lane road?
Valery Abramov: Yes, as a four-lane road with all the final details, an ideal road.
Vladimir Putin: All right.
Go ahead please.
Viktor Perevalov: Tavrida’s total length is 237 km, that’s in Crimea, sections one through six, and another 14,7 km, the seventh section, in Sevastopol. These are the sections we are working on now.
Now, regarding Tavrida itself, its sections one through four. Last December we opened two-lane traffic on the new side. Why did we use this approach? To avoid inconveniencing drivers, so we built the two new lanes first. Then after that, we rebuilt the two existing lanes.
Today, the road is about 74 percent complete. By September 1, on sections one through four, that is from Kerch to Simferopol, we will complete the base surface layers on all four lanes, and starting in September we will begin laying the final top layer of the asphalt.
We started on the fifth and sixth sections later because of certain property relations. We had to do a lot of utility relocation. The base layers of the four-lane section will be complete by December.
Next year we plan to work only on the top layers of all four lanes. We will do one lane at a time to keep traffic moving. We will work step by step to avoid blocking traffic. By September of next year, all four lanes will be complete. The road will fully open in December 2020.
Vladimir Putin: This is the final deadline?
Viktor Perevalov: Yes, the final deadline. Currently, we are on schedule and have no doubt that this project will be done. We assure you that everything will be done to the highest quality, as good as what we have in Kaliningrad.
The seventh section of the project, the one in Sevastopol, will also be completed next year. Today, it’s about 60 percent complete because there is a lot of engineering protection work to be done; a lot is being done to maintain slope stability, to prevent landslides. But we will certainly finish the base layers by the end of the year. Next year we will only have to work on the top layer, the paving, striping, arrangements and signs. So by September Crimea and Sevastopol will receive a very good road that everyone will enjoy driving on.
Vladimir Putin: Will it be good to drive on in September or still by December?
Viktor Perevalov: We will open it in September. Some issues will still have to be resolved. We will have to receive the permits that the road conforms to all regulations and standards. This document is obtained by the customer and confirms that the project conforms with what has been designed. This process takes time. But until the road is built and the payments are made we cannot apply for the document. We actually take these three months to get all these documents ready and to receive an acceptance on the completion of the contract to officially put the road into operation.
Vladimir Putin: Will the road be opened at least in December?
Viktor Perevalov: In September.
Vladimir Putin: The road will be opened in September but the final registration of the documents will be completed in December.
Viktor Perevalov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: In fact, for the driving public it doesn’t matter when the documents are registered. They only want to know when they will be able to drive on these roads.
Viktor Perevalov: Exactly, yes.
Vladimir Putin: In September.
Viktor Perevalov: In September 2020.
Vladimir Putin: Excellent.
As far as I know, you have employed many local people.
Valery Abramov: Yes. Out of 2,200 people who are building Tavrida highway, half are Crimean specialists. We are hoping to keep the backbone of not only our specialists but also the Crimean specialists for future projects.
Vladimir Putin: What is the average salary here?
Valery Abramov: It is 70,000.
Vladimir Putin: This is good. This is one third more than the average salary here.
Valery Abramov: Of course, we would like to express our special gratitude to the Head of the Republic of Crimea, Mr Sergei Aksyonov because without his help, particularly with property issues, we would not have been able to finish the project in time. Now we are on schedule thanks to his involvement and support.
Vladimir Putin: He is putting his soul into this project, doing his best. This is true, and he is an efficient man.
In addition to these facilities, you have projects in other regions as well.
Valery Abramov: Yes, we are working in the Murmansk Region, the Republic of Karelia, the Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Kostroma and Leningrad regions, in St Petersburg and the Kaliningrad Region.
Vladimir Putin: How many employees do you have in all?
Valery Abramov: Over 10,000.
Vladimir Putin: The company will mark 25 years since its creation this year, right?
Valery Abramov: We have been in business for 25 years as of May 26, and we are happy, Mr President, that we celebrate this with the most important contract in our history.
Vladimir Putin: Congratulations on the anniversary. I would like to wish you success. Let’s talk informally on the issues that may be of interest to you.
Valery Abramov: Thank you.