Russian authorities have engaged two Chinese firms to expand Moscow’s subway as part of the city’s major growth plan, reports Rod Sweet.
State-owned developer Mosinzhproekt signed a deal in Beijing on Monday with China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) and China International Fund to build a 15km south-western metro line in so-called New Moscow. The scheme involves six new stations.
The agreement was signed by Moscow’s deputy mayor for urban development and construction, Marat Khusnullin. According to Russian news agency RIA, Khusnullin had earlier said that the new line is planned to open in 2018.
"It will be the key project for attracting private investments from China to balance the Moscow investment package and accelerate the development of investment and infrastructural projects," RIA reported the mayor as saying.
The new subway is part of a major urban expansion of Moscow. In 2012 the Russian government redrew the city’s boundaries to double its size, an administrative manoeuvre in preparation for the development of the suburban hinterland.
The high concentration of government and commercial activity in downtown "old" Moscow has prompted this move to decentralise in order to relieve traffic congestion, housing scarcity and other problems.
Moscow plans eventually to extend its 350-km subway system by 150km in what has been called the biggest infrastructure program in the country. Moscow wants China’s help not only in building the subway but also in developing the commercial property around the new stations in New Moscow.
"We need constructors who can build a subway properly," said deputy mayor Khusnullin in an interview with Chinese state-owned newspaper China Daily.
Shanghai has 525km of subway line, while Beijing has 465km.
"This program is one of the largest in the world," said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, RIA reported. "It of course comes short of the Beijing or Shanghai program, but nevertheless in Europe it is the largest one – we are talking about building 150 kilometers of subway lines, more than 70 stations," he added.
CRCC specialists were in Moscow studying Russia’s existing subway system when the deal with the Chinese firms was announced.