New routes and cutting-edge technology: the evolution of Moscow’s road infrastructure

New routes and cutting-edge technology: the evolution of Moscow’s road infrastructure
Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service
With ring roads being replaced by a series of bi-directional expressways, more efficient interchanges and new roads being built between neighbourhoods, Moscow is changing its approach to road infrastructure development.

Between 2011 and 2016 the city has built or renovated over 500 km, or 12.5 percent, of its road infrastructure, or about the same distance that separates Moscow from Voronezh or Penza, or twice the distance between Moscow and Yaroslavl.

This is at a time when the city is setting up sophisticated traffic structures for drivers and pedestrians, not just replacing road surface or widening streets. The last six years have seen 162 new elevated roads, underpasses, tunnels and bridges, and 159 pedestrian under- and overpasses. These help clear up traffic by removing extra obstacles for vehicles.

Moscow launched an ambitious road infrastructure development programme six years ago. Today, 70 percent of the city’s spending is based on this Targeted Investment Programme. The implementation of the programme has prevented a transport collapse that Moscow stood on the verge of: the growing number of private vehicles and poor street and road network’s density risked bringing city traffic to a halt.

The very approach to road infrastructure development has been transformed. Major roads are widened with designated lanes for public transport required. Outdated cloverleaf interchanges are being replaced with more efficient flyover designs that boost traffic speeds. Ring roads are giving way to expressways such as the North-West, South-East and Southern expressways. As a result, the ring road pattern, which has been typical for Moscow since the middle ages, is being reshaped with bi-directional motorways that are more versatile. In addition, the city is building parallel service roads, and new roads are being built between neighbouring districts.

The opening of new routes and sensible transport management has gradually been easing traffic congestion. This development has been noted by international transport analysts. According to the TomTom Traffic Index, the time that Muscovites spend in traffic congestion decreased 24 percent on average last year. The city’s rank among the most congested cities is dropping as indicated by global rankings.

Recent years have seen major construction projects including the unique Alabyano-Baltiysky Tunnel, the Varshavskoye Motorway underpass, the new Kashirskoye Motorway and Volgogradsky Prospekt interchanges, projects on Balaklavsky Prospekt, Bolshaya Akademicheskaya Street, Leningradskoye Motorway, Moscow’s longest elevated road on the Mozhaiskoye Motorway, the Businovskaya interchange and railway overpasses.

Record 2016

Last year, Moscow broke its own record in road construction after completing 118 kilometres of roads, 44 bridges, underpasses, and elevated roads, and 20 pedestrian under- and overpasses. Many of these projects were completed ahead of schedule.

Of the projects completed in 2016, many are very important for the city. Several examples are listed below:

Lipetskaya Street elevated section

A new direct-access elevated road section improved traffic on Lipetskaya Street, which has for a long time functioned as an outbound motorway. The road connected the Vostochnoye (Eastern) Biryulyovo District with the Zapadnoye (Western) Biryulyovo and Chertanovo Central districts that were separated by a railway line. It also removed the need for a traffic signal-managed road intersection at Elevatornaya Street, which sped traffic up. A new road running parallel to the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) will be built here soon. It will connect Lipetskaya Street with Varshavskoye Motorway. The project is to be completed in 2017.

New sections of Kaluzhskoye Motorway

Last year, seven major projects were completed on a section of Kaluzhskoye Motorway from the Moscow Ring Road to the turn to the township of Kommunarka. These include two elevated roads near the malls, an underground pedestrian passage, two underpasses, a bridge over the Sosenka River, and an elevated section near the village of Sosenki. This year, several more upgraded sections will open. The entire project will be completed in 2018.

Bi-level tunnel

Moscow’s and Russia’s first construction of the kind is the key feature of the Narodnogo Opolcheniya Street renovation project. The unusual design was suggested by the famous American two-barrel Winchester gun. Instead of running side by side, there is a separate level for each direction. The tunnel made it possible to remove one traffic light that slowed traffic and to reduce street noise for local residents. The bi-level design was chosen in order to move the motorway as far as possible from residential buildings.

Renovation of Ryabinovaya Street

Two elevated road sections opened on Ryabinovaya Street’s intersections with Troyekurovsky Proyezd and Generala Dorokhova Street. A turnaround was built there near Troyekurovsky Proyezd, side roads, five pedestrian over-  and one underpass. As a result, traffic capacity was increased 30 percent and a new parallel road to the Moscow Ring Road was opened in the western part of the city to connect Mozhaiskoye Motorway with Michyurinsky Prospekt and with an exit to the Skolkovo innovation park. In the future, this section will be incorporated into the North-West Expressway.

Interchange at 41st km of Leningradksoye Motorway

A new road from Zelenograd helped solve local drivers’ long-standing issue: traffic congestion at the signalled Panfilovsky Prospekt ‘s intersection with-Lyalovskoye Motorway. The solution was to build an underpass below Leningradsky Motorway, which cut travel time to the Zelenograd Administrative Area and  to Moscow Region’s dachas and back.

Shchyolkovskoye Motorway elevated sections

The 600-metre elevated road section at the Shchyolskovskoye Motorway and 9th Parkovaya Street intersection enabled driver to pass unimpeded by traffic signals and make a U-turn near the metro station. Each carriageway features three lanes. The road was built as part of the renovation project on the section of Shchyolkovsoye Motorway from the Moscow Ring Road to the Garden Ring.

Pedestrian underpass near Moscow State University

An underpass was finally built at the Lomonosovsky Prospekt -Vernadsky Prospekt intersection. It is used by students and staff at Lomonosov Moscow State University, students at local schools and residents of the Gagarinsky and Ramenki districts. The underpass has helped drivers as well as pedestrians by changing the traffic signal timing and increasing the traffic capacity of the entire intersection.

Plans for 2017

In 2017 Moscow will maintain this impressive pace of construction. Plans include 115 kilometres of new roads, 27 structures and 23 under- and overpasses. Major new facilities will include sections of the North-West, North-East and Southern expressways, renovation of MKAD sections, bridges over railways, roads in the Troitksy and Novomoskovsky administrative area (TiNAO), and in territories of former industrial zones such as ZIL, etc.

Southern section of the North-West Expressway

This autumn, new sections of the expressway will open, this time from Ryabinovaya Street to Aminyevskoye Motorway and from the motorway to Mosfilmovskaya Street. The result will be a real parallel road to Third Ring Road-MKAD sections of Mozhaiskoye Motorway and Michyurinsky Prospekt that serve as outbound motorways. In the future, Mosfilmovskaya Street bound traffic will be redirected to the southern parallel road of Kutuzovsky Prospekt after the section is completed.

Sections of North-East Expressway

New sections are being added to the second new thoroughfare, the North-East Expressway. This year, construction of sections from Entuziastov Motorway to Izmailovskoye Motorway and from Izmailovskoye Motorway to Shchyolkovskoye Motorway will be launched. This will help redistribute traffic between Izmailovskoye Motorway and Shchyolkovskoye Motorway, Entuziastov Motorway and Prospekt Budennogo . The traffic volume on Prospekt Budennogo will decrease, as it will at the intersection with Entuziastov Motorway and at the latter’s section from Prospekt Budennogo to Plekhanova Street. There will be a direct connection from Perovskaya Street to the North-East Expresseway and further to Sokolinaya Gora, Preobrazhenskoye, and Vostchnoye (Eastern) and Severnoye (Northern) Izmailovo districts.

Renovation of Kaluzhskoye Motorway

The first part of the renovation project on the main thoroughfare leading to the TiNAO is open. Driver can now take advantage of two new bridges, an underpass and a side road. There are also five pedestrian underpasses between MKAD and the village of Sosenki. After the project is complete, traffic capacity of this motorway will be increased by 20-25 percent.

Profsoyuznaya Street Interchange

The MKAD-Profsoyuznaya Street interchange, which is currently under construction, will improve the traffic situation considerably. An underground exit ramp to Kaluzhskoye Motorway will open, as well as a left-turn elevated ramp and a U-turn elevated section. The project also includes two elevated parallel roads over Kaluzhskoye Motorway and Profsoyuznaya Street, a section of the MKAD, and widening Kaluzhskoye Motorway to four lanes in each direction.

Road bridges over railway lines

In recent years, Moscow has opened eight new road bridges to connect districts that were separated by railway lines, which has cut travel time for local residents. Two opened this year: in Shcherbinka and Peredelkino. Four more will have opened by the end of the year: at the 33rd and 36th kilometres of the Kiev Railway (at the villages of Kokoshkino and Kryokshino), between 2nd Yuzhnoportovy Proyezd and Yuzhnoportovaya Street, and Bogorodsky Bridge over the Moscow Central Circle.

Elevated road over Pavelets Railway

This summer, a new construction project will be completed between Elevatornaya and Podolskikh Kursantov streets. The 800-metre elevated road section will be the key element of a new carriageway that will connect the Vostochnoye (Eastern) Biryulyovo District with the   Zapadnoye (Western) Biryulyovo and Chertanovo central districts. Although these districts are near each other, they are separated by a railway line and the only way to cross it is via the Moscow Ring Road and Nakhimovsky Prospekt.

Roads in New Moscow

This year will bring seven roads, an elevated section and two pedestrian underpasses for residents of Moscow’s new territories. Roads under construction in TiNAO, including the Kaluzhskoye Motorway, a section of the Solntsevo-Butovo-Vidnoye road, will be almost 67 km long. Of these, 30 km are to be completed this year. A new road from the village of Botakovo near Troitsk to the Borovskoye Motorway will be completed by July. The first stage of the road from Kievskoye Motorway to Ostafyevo Airport will also be completed this year.