Asphalt work on E105 west of Murmansk. The new upgrade will be south of Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Asian investment bank loans $98 million to upgrading E105 highway in Karelia

This is the first time the bank invests money in the main road running from St. Petersburg to the Norwegian border.
December 17, 2019

It is also the first time since 2014 that Russia receives a load from a bank with capital from the West.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank that aims to support building infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region. The bank is based in Beijing, China, but several European countries are on board, including Norway, United Kingdom and Germany.

The United States stays out, arguing concerns about whether the AIIB will meet acceptable standards for governance, environmental and social safeguards.

$98 million to upgrading the highway E105 from St. Petersburg via Karelia to Murmansk and the Norwegian border is the first large road project the bank loans money to in Northwest-Russia. More could come later.

The bank writes in its project plan that first focus will be on a 15 kilometers part of Section 26 of the road, which in Russia is named R-21. Section 26 is near Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia.

Over the last decade, Russia has upgraded E105 substantially, both on the part from the Pechenga valley to the Norwegian border, but also on the section south of Murmansk towards Kandalaksha on the border to Karelia.

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On the Norwegian side of the border, a new bridge and a tunnel opened two years ago, along with a general upgrade of the road towards Kirkenes.

E105 meets E6 at Hesseng on the Norwegian side of the border. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

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