VLADIVOSTOK, June 23 (Itar-Tass) —— A project to build a road from Kolyma to Anadyr has been drawn up. The 4.5 metre wide road will be built according to all standards to make it resistant to low temperatures and ensure its long operation, the Chukotka administration said.
The new road will provide round-the-year transport link to the Magadan region. If all authorisations and approvals are obtained promptly, construction can begin before the end of this year.
Until now one could reach Chukotka at any time of year only by plane. The federal road Kolyma-Omsukchan-Omolon-Anadyr will pass through Chukotka and the Magadan region. The Chukotka stretch the road from Omolon to Anadyr (with extensions to Bilibino and Yegvekinota) is more than 1,800 kilometres long.
The head of Chukotka’s Department of Highways, Alexander Kozhuhov, said earlier that the contractor had already started building a difficult 30-kilometre stretch between the settlement of Komsomol and the city of Bilibino across several mountain passes. The construction of another 23-kilometre stretch of the road will begin in 2012.
The approved amount of funding for 2011-2013 is 1.92 billion roubles, including 1.65 billion roubles from the federal budget. The total cost of the project in Chukotka is estimated at 150 billion roubles. It is expected to take some 30 years to build the road in a harsh climate.
About half of Chukotka lies beyond the Arctic Circle. The region occupies an area of 721,500 square kilometres, accounting for 4.2 percent of Russia’s territory. Winter lasts there 10 months, and the permafrost is everywhere. In winter, temperatures fall below 60 degrees Celsius. Summers are short, rainy and cold (barely above 14 degrees): sometimes it snows, and in some parts of the region snow does not even melt in summer. As a result the only all-the-year-round type of transport to and from Chukotka is the plane, even though the region’s population is 50,500.
The only regional air carrier in the area is Chukotavia which flies between the regional capital, district capitals and other towns. The airline has only four An-24 and An-26 planes and 10 Mi-8 helicopters. The average annual volume of passenger traffic is 40,000 people. Flights from Moscow to Anadyr are performed once a week on the average.
Chukotka has the lowest rate of automobilisation in Russia: only 59 cars per 1,000 people (for comparison, 313 in Moscow). Paved roads can be found only in big cities. In other parts of the region there are winter, or ice, roads, which can be used only in low temperatures and which gets boggy in summer.
The construction of the road will accelerate the development of major mineral deposits in the west of Chukotka. The Kolyma-Anadyr road will pass in immediate proximity to the large copper field Peschanka which is believed to contain 27 million tonnes of copper and 1,600 tonnes of gold.
The construction of the Kolyma-Omsukchan-Omolon-Anadyr road is provided for in the federal target programme “Economic and Social Development of the Far East and Trans-Baikal Area till 2013” and the regional target programme “Improvement and Development of the Network of Highways in the Chukotka Autonomous Area in 2010-2013”.