How overpasses and elevated motorways help connect Moscow’s districts
Moscow City Government, January 27, 2017
When Moscow incorporated new territories, the need to establish quick and convenient connections between neighbouring districts and even within districts separated by railway lines became more pressing. Previously, the emphasis was on the development of radial lines connecting suburbs with the centre: major motorways, prospects and commuter railways.
To develop the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas, major motorways, such as the Kaluzhskoye Motorway, are being revamped and overpasses or elevated roads for vehicle traffic are being built across railways, four of which – in Kokoshkino, Kryokshino, Peredelkino and Shcherbinka – will be opened in 2017.
In August 2016, construction started on an overpass near the Kokoshkino railway station, which will replace the existing and potentionally hazardous (accident) railway crossing at the 33rd kilometre of the Kiev line of the Moscow Railway. The “bottleneck crossing”, with a current traffic capacity of about 300 cars per hour, will become a full-fledged transit section: two lanes in each direction, with a capacity of 1,200-1,500 cars per hour.
Now that the construction of support structures for the overpass has been completed, as well as approaches to the elevated motorway, construction of roads and utility lines is underway.
The overpass is expected to open in the third quarter of 2017. It will be part of the 13-kilometre long expressway between the Kaluzhskoye, Borovskoye, Kievskoye and Minskoye motorways.
The elevated motorway will be convenient both for drivers and residents of Kokoshkino, Marushkino, Tolstopaltsevo and other neighbourhoods in the Naro-Fominsky District. The overpass across the railway will improve the work of ground public transit and allow for additional routes.
The elevated motorway near Peredelkino railway station (18th kilometre of the Kiev Line) has been completed, and road infrastructure is being constructed. The builders will partially renovate the adjacent Lukinskaya Street and 7th Lazenki Street, install traffic lights and over 100 roads signs at T-intersections, make new markings totalling 1,200 square metres and install 1.3 kilometres of fencing.
Building this elevated motorway was an enormous engineering challenge. It was impossible to build a tunnel under the railway due to the adjacent Setun River, as there was a high risk of flooding. A traditional flat overpass could not be built due to the adjacent dense development. So, the designers decided to build an overpass in the shape of a horseshoe.
The elevated road is designed for cars only, as it is located quite far from the station. Pedestrians can use a safe controlled crossing over the railway. The two-lane overpass (one lane in each direction) will increase traffic capacity from 300 to 600-900 cars per hour, better connecting the Minskoye and Borovskoye motorways. This innovation will certainly be appreciated by the over 120,000 residents of Novo-Peredelkino and surrounding districts.
The most efficient overpass will be an elevated road at the 36th kilometre of the Kiev line, at the Kryokshino railway station: traffic capacity will increase by six times – from 350 to 2,100 cars per hour in one direction. It will simplify traffic between the Minskoye, Borovskoye and Kievskoye motorways and improve access to the adjacent districts of the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas, where about 350,000 people live.
The overpass will include two sets of stairs on the slopes and a 2.2-metre wide pavement. For people with limited mobility, there will be ramps with a gradient of up to 50 percent, lowered curbs and tactile paving.
In addition to the construction of 3.1 kilometres of a new carriageway, the project involves the renovation of 2.2 kilometres of utility lines – water, sewer, gas, communication and electricity systems. The work is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017.
Integrated municipal programme
These projects are part of the agreement concluded between the Moscow Government and Russian Railways in March 2013. It involves the construction of six overpasses at intersections of railways and automobile roads of regional significance. It also includes crossings at Nizhniye Kotly station (7th kilometre of the Pavelets line), Shcherbinka station (34th kilometre of the Kursk line) and an overpass in Yuzhnoportovaya Street.
In addition, five overpasses adjacent to the Moscow Central Circle were renovated in 2014-2016: Leningradsky, Zvenigorodsky, Mozhaisky, Volokolamsky and Koptevsky.
The Moscow Central Circle and the Third Interchange Circuit under construction also support the concept of developing connections within and between districts through public transit.
There were plans to build the fourth ring road, but experts instead opted for three expressways – the Southern Expressway, North-West Expressway and North-East Expressway.
These connector roads not only eliminate bottlenecks in the transport network, but also contribute to the development of a modern polycentric metropolis by unburdening the historic centre of Moscow through the creation of new business areas, jobs and infrastructure in different parts of the city, including the suburbs.
Large-scale road construction: efforts and results
According to the Urban Development and Construction Complex (Stroicomplex), in 2011-2016 the following facilities were built or renovated:
- 548 kilometres of roads, including almost 105 kilometres in 2016;
- 162 artificial transport facilities – overpasses, underpasses and bridges, including 44 in 2016;
- 160 off-street pedestrian crossings, including 20 in 2016;
- 13 transport interchanges at intersections with the Moscow Ring Road;
- Eight outbound motorways.
The impact of new roads and improved traffic is already visible. In 2012, Moscow topped the TomTom Traffic Index as the city with the busiest streets, whereas in 2015 Moscow dropped to fifth place, following Mexico City, Bangkok, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. According to the fourth International Expert Council on Transport Issues held in October 2016, Moscow significantly improved traffic conditions in the past few years. Over the year, the average speed increased by 34 percent, and the implementation of an integrated traffic regulation system reduced the number of road accidents by 30-50 percent.