Bridges, elevated roads and underpasses: How Moscow’s road system is being developed

Bridges, elevated roads and underpasses: How Moscow’s road system is being developed
In 2018, the city broke many road construction records, overhauling the Varshavskoye and Kaluzhskoye motorways and completing all the main structures and facilities of the North-West Expressway, as well as three new sections of the North-East Expressway.

In 2018, the city broke road construction records, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at an Urban Development and Construction Complex (Stroicomplex) meeting, where reports were given and new officials appointed. In all, the city built 127 kilometres of new roads, as well as 55 bridges, elevated roads and underpasses and 19 pedestrian crossings.

“We have almost completed the North-West Expressway and are ready to open two-thirds of the North-East Expressway; large sections of the Southern Expressway, Kaluzhskoye Motorway and a number of other projects are also ready. We will have to build an additional 500 kilometres of roads in the next few years. This is a lot. Of course, it is hard to compare this with roads being built in rural areas. But it is hard to build such tremendous volumes, mostly sophisticated road structures, underpasses, overpasses and elevated roads in the city. No other city is building or upgrading such an extremely complicated and rapid programme of projects with these tight deadlines,” Mr Sobyanin noted.

In 2018, the city also finished overhauling Varshavskoye Motorway, and the construction of the South-East Expressway will begin next year. Four new expressways will be distinct but will interchange to form a new ring road around the city and will make it possible to seriously reduce congestion in the central districts. All of them will add up to 307 kilometres in length, including 133 kilometres of motorways.

New roads increase average speed

According to Dutch company Tom-Tom, congestion on local roads has decreased by 25 percent from 2012. This quite a lot, all the more so as the number of cars in the Moscow Region has soared by about 50 percent over the past few years. These changes were made possible by expanding the system of motorways by 19 percent from 2011 through 2018.

“We never forget about motorway construction, while expanding rail services. Last year, the city built an unprecedented 127 kilometres of roads, an all-time high. We also built 55 road structures, another record. And I would like to say that 33 percent of all road structures have been built in the past eight years,” said Deputy Moscow Mayor for Urban Development and Construction Marat Khusnullin.

In 2018, the city received the longest elevated roadway linking the Moscow Ring Road with Perovskaya Street, part of the North-East Expressway. The double elevated road spanning the Moscow Railway’s Smolensk Line links Bozhenko Street with Gorbunova and Tolbukhina streets. A turnaround/elevated road between Bolshaya Akademicheskaya Street and Dmitrovskoye Motorway links the North-East and North-West expressways. Last year, the city also built the new Krylatsky Bridge, an overpass spanning the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) railway at the former ZIL industrial zone, and nine other overpasses and two underpasses between the Kievskoye and Kaluzhskoye motorways were built.

Apart from major motorways, the city is repairing and building access routes towards non-profit horticultural cooperatives located outside the city limits, Mr Khusnullin noted.

“In 2018, we expanded the system of roads and streets at gated dacha communities. Millions of city residents have their own dachas. Last year alone, we rebuilt 111 kilometres of roads, and we are set to expand this programme, to say the least, throughout 2019,” he said.

2019-2023: Building bridges and parallel roads

“We plan to link our four new expressways in 2022-2023. We see this as a high-priority highway goal. We will basically be creating a new ring road with 130 kilometres of motorways around the city’s central section. Access routes, U-turn ramps, turnarounds and elevated roads will increase the length of the expressways to over 300 kilometres. Together, they will basically be 30 percent longer than the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) and four times longer than the Third Ring Road,” Mr Khusnullin noted.

Other important projects are planned. For example, the city will start building a parallel road north of Kutuzovsky Prospekt. The following projects will also continue: 

— Parallel road south of Kutuzovsky Prospekt;

— Cable-stayed bridge spanning the Moscow Canal;

— Roads and streets at the former ZIL industrial zone;

— Interchanges linking the MKAD with the Altufyevskoye, Volokolamskoye;

— Ostashkovskoye and Besedinskoye motorways, as well as the Lipetskaya and General Dorokhova streets;

— Roads and streets in the vicinity of the Kommunarka administrative-business centre;

— A road linking Kaluzhskoye Motorway with Polyany Street;

— The Maryino-Salaryevo road;

— The Serednevo-Desna road.

According to Mr Khusnullin, there are plans to improve 40 kilometres of embankments, several dozen district-level roads and 12 pedestrian crossings spanning various railway lines.

Transit hubs strengthen the city’s framework

It is impossible to build an effective mega-city transport framework without convenient transit links/hubs. Today, the city is building 96 transit hubs that will provide 111 seamless connections to metro stations, and 61 links to railway and MCC stations.

“In 2018, we completed five transit hubs, including Khovrino, Rasskazovka in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas, the Ozyornaya, Okruzhnaya and Shelepikha transit hubs. We built 14 single-level transit links, while integrating four of them: Okruzhnaya, Novokhokhlovskaya, Leningradskaya and Ryazanskaya,” Mr Khusnullin said. Transit hubs make life much more convenient, he added.

For example, Karacharovo junction, part of the new Ryazanskaya transit link, allows passengers to change from Karacharovo railway station to the MCC’s Nizhegorodskaya station in five, rather than 15 minutes. There are also plans to increase the number of trains stopping at Karacharovo station, after the third Karacharovo platform and additional mainline capacity is being completed on the Moscow Railway’s Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod) Line in 2019-2020. Peak hour service intervals will be reduced from 5.5 to 4.5 minutes and later to 3 minutes. Karacharovo will serve as a terminus for trains operating on some routes, making it possible to reduce congestion at Kursky Railway Station. The Ryazanskaya transit hub will become the largest multi-modal centre in Moscow and Europe. This hub will eventually become a new railway station for the new Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway.

Passengers will find the Khovrino transit hub quite convenient, changing from metro trains to commuter trains and surface transport. Buses shuttling between the city and Sheremetyevo International Airport, inter-city and international-route buses linking Moscow with Tver, Veliky Novgorod, St Petersburg, Finland; Moscow with Pskov;  Moscow with Vologda, Arkhangelsk;  and Moscow with Smolensk will stop here. The transit hub will also receive a park-and-ride facility for drivers traveling from Moscow to St Petersburg.