Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Petition May Delay St. Pete's Ring Road

ST. PETERSBURG -- Construction of the ambitious $1 billion Ring Road around St. Petersburg could be delayed by a recent Supreme Court decision, a spokesman for the project management said last week.

The court ruled last month that the federal government had broken at least five federal laws, the Land Code and the Federal City Development Code with a decree it issued in March in order to speed up construction of the project.

The 154-kilometer Ring Road was begun in 1994 and is intended to reduce the volume of traffic in downtown streets by as much as 50 percent. The project includes a 1.8-kilometer suspension bridge across the Neva River and a flood-control dam in the Gulf of Finland.

The Supreme Court ruling came in response to a suit filed this summer by the Izhora Green Movement, a non-governmental organization based in the Frunzensky District, which alleged the rights of area residents had been infringed by the project, particularly by a government order this spring authorizing construction to proceed.

Vera Gordienko, head of the Izhora Green Movement, wrote in the petition that construction on the project began even before a plan had been approved or required state environmental and sanitation reports had been filed.

The planned opening of the eastern portion of the Ring Road by May 2003 may be delayed by the Supreme Court ruling, according to Sergei Podkuiko, a spokesperson for the project management. "The people who have done this know very well how the bureaucracy works. If somebody wants to, it is very easy to slow down the project," he said.

According to Podkuiko, the environmental-impact report cited as missing in Gordienko's appeal is one way to slow down the project significantly.

But officials at the Transport Ministry say the project will not be held up.

"This road is necessary and it is for the people. I assure you that the eastern half of the Ring Road is going to be completed by May 2003. It may have four lanes instead of eight, but the road will function by 2003," said Arkady Ivanov, head of the federal coordinating council overseeing the project.

He added the ministry has 10 days to appeal the Supreme Court ruling to the Constitutional Court and that it "definitely" will do so.

Last year, the federal government said progress on the Ring Road was too slow and handed direct control to the Transport Ministry. Since then, attention has focused largely on the eastern segment of the Ring Road, the cost of which is estimated to be about $700 million. The Transport Ministry allocated 2 billion rubles ($67 million) of this funding in the 2001 federal budget, of which 1.5 billion has been spent, and intends to budget the remainder in 2002 and 2003.

This sum represents about half of the total federal funding promised for the city's tercentennial in May 2003.