MYTHS AND REALITY
To begin with, we take a few postulates that are not accepted even to discuss. They are usually brought in to show the level of our backwardness. For example, this: “the average density of roads in Russia is 15–20 times lower than in Europe.” Horror, and nothing more!
“Indeed, if we take our average density of roads - about 68 km per 1000 km² of territory - and compare with European indicators, you can be discouraged,” agrees Anatoly Chabunin, head of the Federal Road Agency of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation (Rosavtodor). - True, the density there is not the same everywhere. For example, the highest in France: 1720 km. In Austria, Great Britain, Italy, and the Czech Republic about 1600 km. But in Germany, only 650 km!
I think it’s more correct to compare regions. The highest figure is in the Moscow region: 636 km per 1000 km². In other areas, of course, the density is lower: Vladimir Region - 194, Kaluga - 301, Ryazan - 185, Tula - 206 km.
The numbers are smaller than in Europe, but not an order of magnitude! And when the Moscow Region is plus with Yakutia, where the route density is 5.5 km, the average figure is awesome. But, you see, it is not required in the regions of the Far North as many roads as in the metropolitan region …
Another postulate that wanders from report to report: "About 50, 000 settlements do not have year-round connection on paved roads, which leads to stagnation of production and outflow of the population."
So it probably is, but how many of these “points” have the population left long ago? I myself saw many deceased villages and towns - both in Central Russia and in the Far North. Pull to every road to try to get the inhabitants back? It makes no sense. There is a state program - to build in five years paved roads to each locality where more than 125 people live and not more than 5 km to the nearest highway. This is the logic and economic calculation. If only this program would be implemented, but not abandoned "due to lack of funds" …
WHAT THE SPECIALS DREAM ABOUT
In fact, in our country a strategy has been developed for the development of the road network until 2030 - these are federal prospects. The regions also have wishes. If summarized, the picture is as follows. The main breakthrough should go in the direction of the Urals and the North. The problem is clear: we are forced to move farther away from civilization to develop natural resources, and there are practically no roads there. Highways in hard-to-reach areas will be built on an equal footing by federal road workers, regional authorities and mining companies.
Last year, the government set a goal: not to slow down the pace of road construction in the Far East. Apparently, in the coming years, the Lena and Kolyma highways will finally become passable, and a completely new federal highway Vilyuy (Irkutsk - Mirny - Yakutsk) will also appear. A network of regional roads will be developed throughout the region, including Sakhalin and Kamchatka.
But the tunnel to the island of Sakhalin, apparently, we have not seen for a long time - it is not even in the most distant plans. They say that first you need to build normal roads on the island and the mainland, and only then think about how to connect them. So far, they say, there is enough ferry service. And all the experts surveyed unanimously recognized the ideas of building a tunnel from Chukotka to Alaska, as well as a bridge from Sakhalin to Japan, utopian. As they say, not in this life …
In the European part of Russia, the problems are different. The country has long had a radial system: all roads lead to Moscow. In order to relieve the capital junction, it is necessary to build at least three high-speed doubles of existing routes: to St. Petersburg, Minsk and Nizhny Novgorod, as well as the Central Ring Road (TsKAD).
In addition, two or three chord routes are needed, which will go far bypassing Moscow. The project of one of them has already been approved by the intergovernmental agreement of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan: we are talking about the road Western Europe - Western China. It will allow faster delivery to Kazakhstan and China of some cargo from the ports of St. Petersburg, bypassing the Moscow transport hub.
These are global projects, but sometimes it’s enough to build a small section to unload the existing highway, or even several. The difficulty is that such decisions, as a rule, lie at the junction of the regions and not everyone needs a road …