The Meridian Toll Highway, which was planned as part of the transit corridor from China to Europe, will no run from China to the Caspian Sea countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia’s state-run company Avtodor (Russian Highways) CEO Vyacheslav Petushenko said in an interview to RBC.  

The highway was supposed to connect China with Europe through Kazakhstan and Belarus.  

“It is clear that now this task has been reoriented, and we, having reached Yekaterinburg to date, see that we need to connect the east of the country, the Urals, with an increasing flow of goods through the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, where not only goods, but also people will go,” Petushenko said.  

Avtodor CEO Vyacheslav Petushenko

According to him, one of the main tasks of Avtodor is connect the eastern part of the country with the Urals and southern regions.

The project to build the Meridian Highway was originally approved by the Russian parliament in 2019, with parties expressing interest but saying the project needed refinement.  The highway is expected to make a profit after 15 years of operations.

The route will not be entirely new in terms of much of the routing, which already exists in the form of existing Russian roads.  Much of the Meridian Highway though requires a completely new build, both in order to preserve the Highways toll revenue integrity, in addition to handling the punishing treatment both heavy lorries and extreme weather conditions will impact upon the road surface and construction itself.

The main objective of the Meridian Highway, when the project was originally planned, was a Europe-Western China corridor. Today, there’s no point in running it to Europe, so now the parties have reconsidered the forecasts.    

The 2,000km superhighway reportedly could link millions of consumers in Russia and China via toll road at lower costs. 

Petushenko says the feasibility study for the new route of the highway is expected to be completed by autumn.