Traffic jams cripple Moscow, threaten business

Transport officials in Moscow are set to unveil a raft of new traffic-busting initiatives over Christmas. The measures are a response to the capital's chronic traffic problem, which is harming business and threatening to bring the city to a standstill.

In the coming weeks, Russia's first twin-use car and train tunnel will open.  And in a bid to get cars off the roads, several new metro stations will open.

December is jam season in Russia’s capital. Taxi drivers will tell you traffic horror stories.  Eight-hour snarl-ups as New Year shopping and black ice take their toll are not unusual.

Each year the city comes closer to grinding to a complete halt.  So, this Christmas the government’s unveiling a massive last throw of the dice to prevent gridlock.

Vice president of Ingeocom, Nikolay Kurennoy, says widening roads won't solve the problem.

“Doubling up the metro line is a start. We must make the metro more interconnected and more attractive for Muscovites to leave their cars behind,” Kurennoy said.

The fact is the building boom has left precious little space over ground. But despite international research to the contrary, its project manager claimed extra roads will ease traffic.

The problem has become so bad, several multinational corporations have decided against setting up in the city. The capital’s biggest taxi operator, New Yellow, says the three million cars on the streets are the single worst enemy of business people.

A twin-level tunnel with cars on top and trains below, and a double-line metro, are testaments to just how far Russia’s infrastructure is falling behind the homes and businesses springing up around it.

The government is now racing to avoid the strangulation of Moscow and, by extension, the entire Russian economy.