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ULAN-UDE, October 14 (Itar-Tass) — The Trans-Baikal Territory of Russia in 2012 will get two helicopters for supporting the work of operational services at the Chita-Khabarovsk federal highway “Amur.” The press service of the regional administration told Itar-Tass on Friday that one helicopter will be purchased at the expense of the federal budget, the second - at the expense of the regional budget.
“In addition, building of the injury care centres on the highway will be launched. The Trans-Baikal Territory will receive over 310 million roubles this year for this purpose. This will allow it to purchase 15 vehicles, three computer tomographic scanners and other medical equipment. It will be placed in hospitals in Chita, as well as in the Chernyshevsk, Mogochinsk, Shilka, Karymsky, Nerchinsk district hospitals, which already are carrying out the necessary repairs and equipping of the rooms,” the press service said.
The formation of the Amur highway infrastructure includes the creation of several new traffic police posts in the Trans-Baikal Territory and bringing up to modern quality standards of about 100 kilometres of the roadway.
In addition, mobile communications services have been launched along the Amur highway this autumn. Thirty-three sites for installing equipment of the “big troika” mobile operators - MTS, MegaFon and Beeline have been determined. Most of the equipment has been installed. After the completion of the project 40 settlements of the Trans-Baikal Territory will get cellular communications services, in addition to the Amur highway.
Russian Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Media Igor Shchegolev said earlier that stable cellular communications services would be offered along the entire Amur federal highway linking the cities of Chita and Khabarovsk by October 15. According to him, a total of 300 cell sites have been installed along the highway, although only ten of them are operational. Still, he promised to commission all cellular communications facilities by October 15. For the first time, he sais, 'the big troika' have pooled their efforts and are working together. Shchegolev added that digital television has already been launched in the Jewish autonomous area.
Under the project, the three cellular operators have built 102 antenna towers along the Chita-Khabarovsk highway. These towers will be operated jointly by the three providers of cellular services. THe total volume of investments in the project was four billion rubles, of which two billion rubles came from the federal budget, and the rest – from the cellular communications operators. Cellular communications services along the highway will make it possible to speed up the development of the motorway infrastructure, enhance its security and in all, make the highway more comfortable. Along with telephone communications, residents of nearby settlements have been offered access to the Internet. “This project is a good example of successful cooperation between the state and private businesses in the area of creating infrastructure in sparsely populated and remote regions of the country, Shchegolev stated.
The M58 Amur federal highway links Chita and Khabarovsk. Its total length is more than 2,165 kilometers. It runs via the city of Chita, the settlements of Never, Svobodny, Arkhara, and the cities of Birobidzhan and Khabarovsk, across four Russian regions, i.e. The Trans-Baikal and Khabarovsk Territories, the Amur region, and the Jewish Autonomous Region. The highway, built under the federal program for the modernisation of Russia’s transport system for 2002-2010, was commissioned in 2010.
The most problematic stretch of the highway lies between Chita and Khabarovsk. The first section of this route, linking Belogorsk to Blagoveshchensk (124 km in length), was constructed by gulag inmates as early as 1949. Extended and updated between 1998 and 2001, this road forms part of the Asian route AH31 connecting Belogorsk to Dalian in China.
The section of the Chita-Khabarovsk road known as the Zilov Gap remained largely unfinished up until early 2004, when Russian President Vladimir Putin symbolically opened the Amur Highway, with great swaths of forest separating major portions from one another. The St. Petersburg Times reported in September 2010 that paving of the highway had been completed. At a videoconference marking the event, Putin described it as “a dependable, modern farm road, but not the Autobahn.”
Many motorcyclists have been injured or killed trying to “master” the Amur Highway. Today, it is a modern paved highway with painted reflective lane-lines.