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BBC Monitoring
New road to make it possible to drive from one end of Russia to the other
Source: Channel One TV, Moscow, in Russian 0600 gmt 28 Jan 03

[Presenter] This year, for the first time in Russia's history, it will be possible to drive through the whole country by road - from the western borders to the Far East. In order for this to happen, the Chita-Khabarovsk highway has to be completed. This is the number one priority for the Transport Ministry. Here is a report by Vladimir Voropay from Amur Region:

[Correspondent] The possibility of driving by road from a state's western border to the eastern is considered to be an essential attribute of a civilized country. In Russia, the possibility of travelling from the shores of the Baltic Sea through to the Pacific Ocean will arise only this year.

The new highway goes from the western outskirts of Chita to the bridge across the Amur near Khabarovsk. The distance between these points is 2,165 km. The construction of the road began back in the 1960s, although most of the road has been laid over the last few decades. About 400 km remains to be built. The road is not being constructed in the normal way - from both directions - but throughout its whole length at the same time...

The new road grows by approximately one kilometre every working day... Work goes on round the clock and every day...

The main task of the road-builders is to ensure road traffic can travel through those areas which have never had roads before by the end of 2003. According to the experts, the new highway will impart a substantial impetus to the economic development of the Far Eastern territories. The construction of the federal highway will be completed in full in 2008.

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