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57% of Roads Sub Standard, Agency Says

More than half of Russia's federal highway system — 27,619 kilometers of roads — is not up to standards, according to the Federal Highways Agency.

"In the 1960s we built roads to meet different burdens. Only a third of federal roads today can support a vehicle carrying more than 10 tons per axle," Igor Astakhov, head of the department for road operation at the Federal Highways Agency, said at a conference in Tomsk on Wednesday, Interfax reported.

Twenty-seven percent — 13,015 kilometers — of Russia's roads are overloaded, he said.

Federal funding is about to rise, however. Starting from 2014, the agency will receive 100 percent of funding for the capital repair and maintenance of the road system. This amounts to 206.8 billion rubles ($6.5 billion) in 2014 and 220.2 billion in 2015. In 2013, the agency expects to receive only 82 percent of the funding it needs, or 171.3 billion rubles.

Astakhov stressed that the rewards from the injection of funds would not be felt immediately, promising that within a five year period the roads will be brought up to scratch.

Astakhov was speaking at a conference on the motor rally "Roads Unite Russia," which runs from Vladivostok to Moscow. Representatives of various federal and regional government bodies, including the highways agency, are taking part in the race, which will take place on a huge section of the country's highway system. The rally began on May 23.

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