OREANDA-NEWS. June 28, 2012. LLC Northern Capital Highway, an infrastructure consortium including VTB Group as majority shareholder and OJSC Gazprombank, signed a loan agreement with a syndicate of banks including VTB Capital Plc, Gazprombank, the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), reported the press-centre of VTB Group.

Under the agreement, the banks will make available funds totaling about RUB 60 bn to Northern Capital Highway to construct the central section of the Western High Speed Diameter toll road in St Petersburg (WHSD). Total investment in the project, which will also be partly financed from the Russian federal and St Petersburg city budgets, is forecast at RUB 206 bn (about USD 6.4 bn), including more than RUB 120 bn during 2012-2015.

Russia's first urban toll road, the WHSD is a 46 km highway with three sections connecting the north, center and south of St. Petersburg. The WHSD is designed to reduce traffic pressure on the city’s roads by redirecting traffic flows, to divert trucks from the districts around the Sea Port onto federal highways, and improve connections between the city centre and Pulkovo airport. The project will use advanced transportation technologies and information systems to control travel and traffic management, including toll e-payment using stickers on vehicle windscreens.

Andrey Kostin, VTB Bank President and Chairman of the Management Board, said: “The Western High-Speed Diameter is Russia’s largest private-public partnership project. I am pleased that VTB will be actively involved in constructing and operating one of Russia’s most modern motorways”.

Nothern Capital Highway in August 2011 won a tender organised by the St Petersburg city government to construct and operate the WHSD.