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26 Mar, 2008 17:04

Abramovich invests in Russian roads

Government and private enterprises are about to begin a massive overhaul of Russia's transport infrastructure. Roman Abramovich, a major shareholder in the Infrastructure company, together with his partner Valery Abramson, are also entering the road const

Russian companies have started spending hundreds of millions of dollars on cutting edge equipment to help upgrade transport routes for cars and trains.

Abramovich and Abramson’s company has purchased the world's largest new high-tech tunnel boring machine made by Germany’s Herrenknecht and worth more than $US 150 million.

Being 19 metres in diameter, it’s the first machine capable of boring a four-lane tunnel.

Tunnel boring machines which don't disturb the surrounding soil are especially important for coastal areas like Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi and in built-up urban areas like Moscow.

“There is no budget for road construction yet and when it appears the equipment will be needed. So we’re keeping ahead by ordering the necessary equipment with private funds,” said Valery Abramson, Infrastructure chairman.

The machine's maker also plans to start production of tunnel boring machines in Russia and establish a service centre.

Currently there are only 40 such machines in the country, although there is a need for hundreds.

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element, and the Systema and Renova holdings are also involved in infrastructure renewal projects.