On the construction road through Khimki forest

The construction of an intercity highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg raised a significant social response this summer, with the cost and route through Khimki forest coming under fire.

Business RT spoke with Yves-Thibault de Silguy vice-president of Vinci group about the issues involved.

YS: “We work in close cooperation with the government and the Russian authorities, and we appreciate determination, pragmatism, efficiency of the government, because it is the first road in concession. Thirdly I can say we apply European and international standards – technical and environmentally, because Vinci is always applying these standards, and we do not work without these European standards, and in this project we apply these standards. Lastly I say at the request of the regions authorities we are participating in a process of supplementary dialogue consultation with all the stakeholders. And we consider that it is normal because in a big project the consultation, the explanation, the information, the transparency, it’s the normal process. And now we are waiting for the decision of the Russian authorities."

RT: Russia is criticized for an extremely high cost of road construction. How much cheaper is it in Europe?

YS: “It is difficult to compare because the cost of the road depends on the environment. When it is flat it’s less expensive, than we have to dig a tunnel in the mountain. So I can say you are right, the cost of the road construction is higher in Russia than in Europe, and because I think the solution go through the acceptance in Russia of European standards, and for example, when I speak about PPP (Public Private partnerships) it is a means to reduce the cost, because in the culture, there are some improvements in Russia to develop, to have the same standards that are in Europeans.”

RT: The part of the road through the Khimki forest you are preparing to build in Russia will cost about $40 million per kilometer. Why is it so expensive?

YS: “There is a lot of civil works to bridge, tunnel and we have special equipment, and close to the cities it is always more expensive.”