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Fools and Roads - Traditional Russian Problems
October 26, 2006 13:00

A famous Russian proverb states that there are two main problems in Russia: fools and roads, but apparently the latter of the two problems is just a consequence of the first one. Undoubtedly, Russia is amongst the countries with a great number of roads, but the state roads here are in, stands far behind than that in leading countries. This would be consistent to deem that the government of the biggest country in the world must be interested in improving the situation, and it seemingly is: one can easily trace a lot of “roads-in-need” talks in media and multitude of news about roads reconstruction plans. However, even if there have been some works over roads reconstruction, the results are not obvious and impressive.

The main problems car drivers are likely to face, is abundance of road inequalities, pale road marking or its total absence and, even if it sounds paradoxically, shortage of roads. While big Russian cities have been more or less provided with roadways, the rest of Russia still has to be content with what exists at the present moment. Only offroadsters are able to go through some lines of communication in many Russian regions, especially in small provincial towns and villages. There are also such regions in Russia where people have never faced traffic jams just because of the absence of roads there.

Some real examples show that countries with climate conditions close to those in Russia and similar expenses contributed to the sphere of roads building and services are far ahead in quality of roadways. While now every third road in Russia needs reconstruction and fundamental modernisation, road building financing decreases every year. That’s amazing how road building services manage to reconstruct anything with such budgets. One more key to break the problem is to make roads paid, which is quite a common practice in the west, and the relevant law has been prepared and is going to come into force in the very nearest future. First paid roads are likely to appear round large Russian cities in directions from Moscow to Byelorussia and Finland.

The Ministry of Transport has worked out a long-term program of roads modernisation expected to be fulfilled by 2025. During this period it is planned to decrease the number of car accidents almost twice, renovate 2800,66 kilometres of roadways, build and renovate 446,15 thousand kilometres of roads. The whole program will cost 932 billion roubles approximately. However, it is possible to hold modernisation works from March to November only, which implies that financial means must be provided beforehand. World’s experience proves that the profit a country gets from investments in communication lines sphere 8-10 times exceeds the expenses. One of the most important things to undertake now is to break the tendency of Russian roads system’s degradation.

However, all Russian drivers can do now is to wait for a successful outcome of the governmental program and hope that after one of the two main Russian problems has been solved, the officials will try to tackle the other one.


Lavrentyeva Natalya

Tags: Russian Symbols transportation    

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