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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Manezh Set To Close for Five Months

Manezh Square is to be closed to traffic from Tuesday until at least December to facilitate construction work on the square's massive underground complex project, in a move that experts say will cause severe traffic jams in the heart of the city.

Mokhovaya Ulitsa, which runs along the edge of Manezh Square, will be shut between Tverskaya Ulitsa and Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa, traffic officials announced this week. Traffic will be limited on a network of surrounding streets, including the Kremlyovksaya and Kropotkinskaya embankments.

Although the State Auto Inspectorate, or GAI, has recommended a number central part of the city," said Viktor Priznyakov.

If commuters are unable to reroute around the center, he added, "they should go to work earlier, so that they can make their meetings."

The move comes alongside a renewal of activity on the massive underground business and cultural project, whose slow pace and high price tag has some city commentators fuming. Mayor Yury Luzhkov last week laid the cornerstone for the complex, projecting that the $15 million project will be finished by 1999.

When the project was announced in September 1994, mayoral spokesmen promised that the mall would be finished by 1996, and open in time for Moscow's 850th anniversary celebration. But a dearth of investors has caused planners to put back the completion date and reduce the scale of the project.

Now -- with the Culture Ministry and the Turkish construction firm ENKA as investors -- planners say the first phase of construction will end early in 1996.

The project has reached the point where "it is impossible to continue without a limitation of the traffic," Priznyakov said.

The traffic restrictions will particularly affect commuters driving north into the city from Leninsky Prospekt, since they will now have no direct access to Tverskaya Ulitsa.

The GAI's public recommendations refer drivers to the Garden and Boulevard Rings and the Moskva River embankments, a strategy which will likely worsen gridlock at intersections like Pushkin Square and Mayakovskaya Ploshchad.

Much of the traffic heading north to Tverskaya will be rerouted along Gazetny Pereulok and Nikitsky Pereulok, which will both be one-way. Parking will be prohibited on both streets.

The GAI order also suggests that passage along the Kremlyovskaya and Kropotkinskaya embankments may be cut off.

The order vaguely stated that traffic on these streets "will be changed and limited for the period of construction."

Other streets subject to change of some kind are Ulitsa Znamenka, Romanovy Pereulok and Leninsky Prospekt.