IKEA may build new speed change lanes on the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) near its shopping mall in the southwest of the Russian capital to reduce traffic congestion, the Swedish company said Friday.
Deputy Moscow Mayor Nikolai Lyamov, in charge of transport and road construction issues, said Thursday the city needs new roads leading to shopping malls built along MKAD to reduce the enormous strain on the city's key beltway.
Lyamov said the owners of stores located near MKAD will have to pay for the construction of new roads from their own pockets. He did not rule out that access lanes leading to shopping malls along MKAD could be closed for traffic if no additional roads are built to ensure access to the trade centers.
"We fully support the Moscow authorities' initiative," IKEA said, adding that over 100 million people visit its shopping malls around Moscow annually.
This is not the first time IKEA has to construct roads in Moscow. It was earlier forced to twice build a bridge above the Leningradskoye Highway, near its Khimki shopping mall, due to disputes between Moscow and the Moscow Region over who owned that section of the road.
IKEA is currently involved in a tax dispute with the authorities over the incident. The company claims that it should not have to pay one billion rubles ($31.9mn) in taxes for the construction of the first road.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has pledged to solve the Russian capital's transport problems. When appointed, he said he would take "extraordinary measures" to eliminate traffic jams. President Dmitry Medvedev has said he will personally oversee the efforts.
Sobyanin replaced long-serving Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, fired in late September by Medvedev over a "loss of confidence." Luzhkov had in particular been criticized for his inability to cope with Moscow's notorious traffic jams.
MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti)