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Moscow Potholes Reduced Tenfold in 3 Years, Mayor Says

Authorities declared a reduction in potholes, such as those seen near Timiryazevskaya metro station in August. Z. MILYAVSKAYA

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the number of potholes in Moscow's roads has fallen by 10 times over the last three years, a time period roughly coinciding with his tenure in City Hall.

Routine road repairs by city authorities have limited the number of holes as well as the amount of work needed to be done to fix them, Sobyanin said, Interfax reported.

Moscow replaced more than 27 million square meters of road — an area equivalent to about 3,800 football pitches — in 2013, said the city's head of administrative and technical inspections, Dmitry Semyonov, drastically reducing the number of potholes, which are defined as a crater in the road surface more than 5 centimeters deep and more than 60 centimeters by 20 centimeters in area.

The decrease in potholes has been evident in a smaller number of complaints about road quality from citizens, Semyonov said. Five complaints about potholes were registered on Our City — City Hall's web portal — in January and February, down 62 percent from the 13 filed during the same period last year.

City hall has been overhauling its approach to road maintenance, trimming the number of contractors for repairs to 11 this year from 146 contractors in 2013. Semyonov said that his inspectors had levied fines worth 90.8 million rubles ($2.58 million) on 105 companies last year for violations during their repair work, Vedomosti reported.

Appointed by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 and reelected to the mayor's post last September, Sobyanin has focused on transportation during his time in office, including measures to ease traffic congestion such as introducing paid parking in the city center and expanding the Moscow metro.

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