The closing of the St. Petersburg’s Western High Speed Diameter (WHSD) project was marked at the signing ceremony in Moscow today. With this signing, the Public Private Partnership Agreement (PPPA) on the construction and operation of the WHSD toll road , the world's largest PPP toll road project, came into effect. During the signing ceremony, several key project agreements were signed, including the revised version of the direct agreement between the WHSD grantors and the lenders and the EPC contract with the project’s contractor, IC-Astaldi, the Turkish and Italian construction joint venture.
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The direct agreements and the financial close Act under the PPPA were signed by Georgy Poltavchenko, Governor of Saint Petersburg; Andrey Kostin, VTB Bank President and Chairman of the Management Board; and Igor Lukyanov, CEO of OJSC Western High Speed Diameter.
The signing of these documents completes the preparatory phase of the project and also recognises that all parties have met the pre-conditions of the PPPA.
VTB Capital is a co-investor (sponsor), financial adviser and one of the lending banks of the WHSD project. VTB Group is a majority shareholder of the LLC Northern Capital Highway, which on the 9th August 2011 was named the preferred bidder in the tender for the right to build the central part and further operation of the WHSD.
The Western High Speed Diameter is the Russia's first urban toll road. The highway will stretch for 46 kilometer and consists of three sections connecting St. Petersburg’s northern, central and southern areas. Investments in the project will amount to RUB 206 bn (about USD6.4 bn), including more than RUB 120 bn during 2012-2015 financed under the PPPA.
The purpose of WHSD is to reduce traffic congestion on urban highways and roads by redirecting traffic flows. It will redirect cargo traffic from the Seaport of St. Petersburg to the federal highways, as well as improve connections with the downtown and Pulkovo airport. The project incorporates some of the most advanced technologies available and introduces advanced traffic management and control systems.