2015 to see Br11.2 trillion allocated for maintenance and development of public road system across Belarus: 140 percent of the 2014 budget
The President has supported the Government’s offer to finance public road building, having discussed the matter with the Deputy Prime Minister, Anatoly Kalinin, the Minister for Transport and Communications, Anatoly Sivak, and the First Deputy Finance Minister, Vladimir Amarin.
The President notes that Belarus’ attractiveness and importance as a transit corridor has risen considerably of late, despite external events. Mr. Lukashenko believes that it is important not only to build new highways, but to maintain those already used. At least 10 percent of cement made in Belarus is to be directed towards roads, as part of the drive to make best use of locally produced materials.
Construction of second ring road around Minsk should finish by early 2017
Mr. Lukashenko wishes to see the second ring road around Minsk (MKAD-2) launched by January 1st, 2017 and the Gomel highway completed by early 2016. The President noted, “We must think ahead, to southern transit through Kobrin and Gomel. It will be vital for transit to Russia, so we must continue dialogue with the Russians. Otherwise, we should negotiate with the World Bank, which offers loans on good terms.”
Speaking of plans to develop road building, Mr. Lukashenko noted the importance of financing related projects and solving all problems. Br11.2 trillion is being set aside for maintenance and development of the road system: 140 percent of the budget for 2014.
This year, an additional Br300bn is being dedicated to building the second ring road around Minsk, with the World Bank approached for funding of the Minsk-Grodno route: $250m has already been agreed, but more is needed.
Naturally, modern roads are very expensive to construct and few countries can do so without seeking additional funding. Fortunately, Belarus does have road building expertise.
Theory and practice
A group of scientists and teachers from the BNTU’s Transport Communication Department recently surveyed the MKAD-2 site, near the village of Papernya. Among them was the Head of Chair of Road Design, Leonid Mytko, and professors Ivan Leonovich and Yaroslav Kovalev — whom the Dean of the Department, Alexey Busel, introduced as being founders of scientific schools. In fact, all those involved in the project are graduates of the BNTU’s Transport Communication Department. Some operate trusts, or road-building departments or mechanisms, working hard in order to ensure that Belarusian roads remain up-to-date. Those who usually work in offices, auditoriums and laboratories also have a role to play, preserving the traditions of Belarusian road building.
Belarus’ roads enjoy prestige across the post-Soviet territory and across Europe. At the initiative of Belarus, under the CIS Intergovernmental Council of Road Builders, a special division on education and science is being launched, meeting for its first session in Minsk in early October. Graduates of the department are in great demand in Russia, where considerable means are being allocated for road building. Even a British company delivering road machinery to Belarus has sent a representative to study at the BNTU: he is now in his second-year with the Transport Communication Department.
Mr. Busel emphasises that, although no concrete arterial high-class roads were constructed in Belarus from 1986-1987, many local highways (about 1,000km) were laid in concrete, giving access to agro-towns and cattle-breeding complexes, for the movement of heavy agricultural machinery. These proved durable, supporting later arguments on the wisdom of using concrete (especially since asphalt tends to crack in sub-zero temperatures). Experts are satisfied that it’s the way forward.