Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a video conference with Khabarovsk, where the Amur highway has been completed
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: (Addressing Minister of Transport Igor Levitin,) Good afternoon, Mr Levitin. I would like to welcome you and your colleagues who have gathered for this video conference in Khabarovsk.
I would like to remind everyone once again that construction of this road was supposed to begin in 1966. The project got off to a slow start in 1978 and was essentially terminated in the early 1990s. Due to the efforts of road-construction services and those people standing behind you and many others who are not present here, work was practically completed in the past four to five years.
When you and I drove along the road from Khabarovsk to Chita, you could see for yourself how much remained to be done. Concrete dividers had yet to be delivered, and some places lacked a solid surface. At that time, you assured me that work will be completed on time. Excuse the tautology, but I would like to hear from you that the construction has been completed in full.
Mr Levitin, you have the floor.
Igor Levitin: Good afternoon, Mr Putin. We are standing at the point where the road enters the city of Khabarovsk. The road has been completed, and asphalt-concrete has been laid along the entire road. A group of builders representing all the companies involved in this road construction project is standing here with me.
As we drove along the road from Chita to Khabarovsk, we met with construction teams and saw that the people really wanted to carry out your order and complete the road by October 1. There are no longer any sections of dirt road. The entire road has been paved with asphalt-concrete.
It's worth noting that two transport arteries, a railway and a motor road, merge on one combined bridge here in Khabarovsk. They run parallel to each other for thousands of kilometers and then link up in Vladivostok 700 km away.
Mr Putin, I would like to thank you very much on behalf of all the road-construction teams that we met enroute and for your support for road construction in the past five years. The Russian government has not let them down once and has provided all the necessary funding on time and in full. Your orders over the past five years have been carried out.
I would like to thank you on behalf of transport workers for this quality transport artery that runs from Moscow to Vladivostok. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. The section of road built in the past five years really looks modern. It's a modern highway. But we still have a lot more to do in this Russian region.
You and I have spoken about how the section of road from Khabarovsk to Skovorodino should be completely rebuilt, that the Khabarovsk-Vladivostok road should be essentially overhauled, and that much remains to be done in numerous other spheres.
I would very much like these roads to look modern and be modern. Moreover, their throughput capacity should be up to modern standards. I would very much like the road where you are now standing to have four lanes, at least two lanes in each direction.
I've heard your objections that traffic volumes are not high enough yet, but I believe we should start to consider this issue. Traffic will likely increase in both directions now that we have this road.
A very large amount of high-quality work has been completed on time. And I would like to thank company executives, the engineers and the workers who have built this road. I would like to thank you for your work and the finished product. I would like to congratulate you on the end of the project.
Igor Levitin: Thank you. Mr Putin, may I say a few words? A Lada Kalina car, which took part in your rally along this road, is parked nearby. If you have no objections, construction teams voted to present it to Oleg Trushin, a crusher operator who has been working on this road for over 15 years. If you don't mind, we would like to introduce him to you.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, please.
Oleg Trushin: Good afternoon. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all my co-workers and everyone behind this gift.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Trushin, please accept my congratulations. I wish you all the best. This backup car followed us during our trip. But to correct Mr Levitin, it was an inspection trip, not a rally.
At any rate, the car withstood the test. I can say this is a good vehicle. I wish you all the best! Thank you very much!
Igor Levitin: Mr Putin, I'm handing over the keys to Mr Trushin.
Vladimir Putin: All the best.
Igor Levitin: Thank you, Mr Putin.
Vladimir Putin: All the best. Thank you very much.