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Shopping Malls Keep Moscow Ring Road From Expanding

City Hall has allocated $965 million for upgrading interchanges but scrapped plans to expand the Ring Road. Vladimir Filonov / MT

City Hall has decided against a radical expansion of the Moscow Ring Road — known as the MKAD — because of dense development next to the highway.

Until 2015 the main emphasis will be put on reconstructing interchanges and exits, for which more than 32 billion rubles ($965 million) have been allocated, Moscow's construction department said Wednesday.

"Building a new road on the roofs of shopping centers would be difficult," Moscow construction head Andrey Bochkarev told Kommersant.

Freeing up the territory next to the Moscow Ring Road would have a prohibitively large price tag, he added.

Construction projects will particularly look at eliminating clover interchanges, common sites of congestion and accidents.

The plans also focus on building new streets that link areas adjacent to the highway, which currently has five lanes in each direction.

Building relief roads was central to acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's program to revamp Moscow's congested highways when he came to office in 2010 but has been dropped from the new plans.

According to the new program, the MKAD construction projects will be divided into sections, starting with the section between Leninsky Prospekt and the Mozhaiskoye highway, which will begin accepting contractors' bids later this year.

The expected completion date for all of the planned projects has not been determined, though Bochkarev estimated that they would stretch beyond 2016.

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