Aleksandr Lukashenko hears out report on construction of second ring road around Minsk

    The construction of the second ring road around Minsk will be continued. The decision was made as the matter was discussed with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 28 February.

    The head of state reminded that when the decision in favor of the second ring road was made, it was agreed to make the most of the existing roads, like the Moscow-bound highway. The scheme of the ring road was also agreed. “We admitted that we badly need this project because the traffic is overwhelming in Minsk. I do not mean that the traffic will keep increasing by leaps and bounds, like it was some years ago. No. I think that people who wanted to buy a car bought it before we introduced the car duty; those who are richer bought new cars. Therefore, there will not by any sharp increase in the number of vehicles,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes.

    At the same time the President noted that the number of car users has been increasing worldwide, and Belarus is no exception. “More than that, the transit through Belarus has been on the rise, too. The transit goes from west to east. Everything indicates that the traffic in this direction will increase dramatically and it will go through Minsk,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    The Belarusian President noted that it is getting more and more difficult for the existing ring road to handle the increasing traffic in Minsk, including the traffic in transit. The President believes that the construction of the second ring road will help the environmental situation in the capital city. “We should immediately start constructing the second ring road around Minsk, so that the city will be able to breathe, so that the two million people, or a quarter of Belarus’ population, living in the capital city would not suffer from it. We should understand that pollution is the reason for all diseases. We will have to spend huge money on treating people. We should keep it in mind. The bottom line is – we will poison Minskers if we fail to build this highway in the next several years,” the head of state said.

    Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich reported that the new ring road will be 85 kilometers long. The first 44 kilometers will be constructed during the first phase of the project. This section will connect Ostroshitsky Gorodok with Aksakovshchina. According to the Premier, there are no reasons, except for the financial one, to reject the ring road construction project.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the project will not be that expensive, because some sections of the future ring road are already in place. “If we take this project under control and spend money wisely, we will be able to materialize it. Difficulties are unavoidable, money is never abundant; however I would like to remind you how much some people complained of the transport tax. Keep in mind that this tax should be channeled into road construction and nothing else, only roads. Otherwise, the criticism is justified. The government will be held accountable for that. All the money raised from collecting the transport tax should be invested in roads,” the President said.

    Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that while fulfilling the instruction of the head of state, the focus was made on providing comfortable and convenient communication with the oblast capitals and other major towns. Over the three years, some 344 kilometers of highways was built, vs. 328 kilometers in the entire previous five-year term. Another 104 kilometers of roads will be commissioned this year.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the highways in the direction of Grodno and Vitebsk should be put in order, like it was done with the highways between Minsk and other oblast capitals, as well as the Belarusian section of the Odessa-Saint Petersburg highway.

    Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that the second ring road will fall into the first category, which implies that it will be able to handle more than 10,000 vehicles daily. To compare, the throughput capacity of the existing ring road is about 90,000 vehicles daily.

    Minister of Transport and Communications of Belarus Anatoly Sivak noted that the work on the second ring road had already started, but made little headway so far.