EBRD to Release Funds for St. Petersburg Ring Road No Earlier than Summer 2003

Selection of a winner of the tender to construct a section of the St. Petersburg ring road using a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has been postponed for an unspecified period. According to the Russian Transport Ministry's State Roads Agency (Rosavtodor), this is because Rosavtodor has requested extra documentation from firms participating in the tender. Rosavtodor did not give a firm date for the conclusion of the tender, and did not rule out the possibility that the winner would announced as late as spring. The first part of the EBRD loan for constructing the ring road, worth USD 135 million, will be received no earlier than summer 2003, according to Rosavtodor.

Rosavtodor also announced that an expert from the EBRD was in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, January 15 to receive reports on the ring road engineering project and possible environmental changes after construction of the eastern half of the road. After analyzing the reports, the expert will pass on his conclusions to the EBRD. The bank will then subject the ring road project to a final analysis before the board of directors takes a decision on whether to transfer the second loan, worth USD 290 million, to the Russian Ministry of Transport. It is proposed that of these resources USD 120 million will be used for the St. Petersburg ring road project (the rest is for the construction of the Chita-Khabarovsk highway).

Rosavtodor announced the tender for the right to build the most complex section of the ring road in autumn 2002. Of the 17 firms that took part in the initial qualifying process, 14 are taking part in the actual tender (5 Russian and 9 joint projects). The tenders are being held at the insistence of the EBRD, which is providing Russia with a USD 229 million road construction loan (USD 135 million for the St. Petersburg ring road, and the rest for the Chita-Khabarovsk highway). The winners of the tenders had earlier been expected to be announced after January 10, 2003.

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