Vinci hopes to begin building Moscow highway in 2011

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French road construction company Vinci said Wednesday that it hoped to conclude a definitive contract and begin building this year the first section of a highway linking Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

"The process is moving again after several months of protests. We hope to conclude the contract and begin work in 2011," said Vinci chief executive Xavier Huillard.

The Russian government approved in December the plan to build the highway through the Khimki forest outside Moscow despite protests that had become a rare rallying cause for the opposition.

Vinci and its Russian partner received the concession to finance, build and operate the section of the Moscow-Saint Petersburg highway plus a spur that would serve Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

The lack of a proper motorway heading north out of Moscow to its international airport Sheremetyevo and further to Saint Petersburg has led to horrendous traffic congestion.

© 2011 AFP

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