On December 2, the official opening ceremony took place. The traffic started on December 3.
Our president Vladimir Putin was invited to the opening ceremony. He said: “This project will help to diminish traffic jams in the city center and will improve the ecological situation. The highway is important not only for the city but for the North-West of Russia in general. Transport infrastructure will improve and it will help to develop business”.
Vladimir Putin congratulated builders and engineers of the company “Highway of the Northern capital” (Northern capital is one of St-Petersburg nicknames). He called the highway “a beautiful large-scale modern project”. In the evening, the light show dedicated to the highway took place.
Western high-speed diameter is a highway that will help to relieve the center of the city, St Basil Island and Northern and Southern districts of the city from traffic jams. It is the first toll road within the city limits. This project makes St Petersburg a huge transport center. It connects the passenger port with the most important highways.
The length of the highway is 45km (or 70 if we include flyovers and ramps). It will take less than 20 minutes to cross the city.
Construction works started in 2005. The agreement between the building company and city government is that the city budget has to cover any deficit for the company. By 2020, the road has to become profitable. After 2020 the building company will keep $150 million a year and the entire profit will go to the city government (the building company keeps only 10% of the money).
The central part of the road had to be built above and underground, over and under water. This part has two cable-stayed bridges. The central part is 11km long. It cost $ 2billion. One third of this sum was donated by the government. The Northern part cost $550 million and the Southern one – $723 million.
Even before the central part was opened, about 150000 cars used the road daily. Now this number will double.
This road will help people to get used to toll roads. Now there are discussions about building the eastern highway in St-Petersburg.
Why does this highway look so unusual? The supports for illumination are so massive because they carry sound insulation screens not only lamps. They are also part of the barrier that prevents cars from falling from the highway.
Will public transport use the highway? We do not know for sure. Firstly, vehicles cannot stop on the highway. Secondly, if one of the lanes is used only by public transport, it will slow down the traffic. There are places where the highway has only two lanes.
How long will the highway function? The building company says at least 100 years.
What is the speed limit? The speed limit of the highway is 100 km per hour whereas in the city it is only 60.
How many people work here? About 800. They are cashiers, engineers, road inspectors, dispatchers.
Passenger port is situated on an island. This highway will help tourists get to other parts of the city faster. So, come here next season to enjoy the highway or if you have already visited the city, compare the road situation with the one last year.