The controversial 43-kilometer section of the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway running through the Khimki forest could be completed in three years, Sergei Kelbakh, first deputy head of state highway company Avtodor, announced Thursday.
"The road will be built in 36 months after construction resumes," Kelbakh told reporters.
Construction is unlikely to begin earlier than a month from now, Kelbakh said, as at least two weeks will be needed to set up a working group and environmental monitoring committee at Avtodor, and two weeks will be needed to reach an agreement with the North-West Concession Company consortium, which includes the French civil engineering firm Vinci.
Kelbakh also said the stretch of road would bypass populated areas. The territory along the road will be protected from development and the highway will not have shoulders. Noise barriers will be erected along the road. The overall price tag for building the section of roadway will be about $2.2 billion, he said. Some of that money will go for planting trees as well, he said.