If going on a cross-continental road trip is on your bucket list, you may soon be in luck.
The first phase of the Meridian highway – the 2,000 km intercontinental motorway linking Europe to Central Asia – has officially been approved by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The four-lane toll route, which will cost approximately US $9.5 billion to build, will stretch from the Belarus border to Kazakhstan.
Although the passage will be used primarily as a trucking route, cars will also be permitted on the motorway.
Funding for construction will come primarily through investment from private corporations, however, the Russian government has pledged to attract new investors, especially from China.
The route will help develop new infrastructure, facilitate intercontinental trade and promote economic growth in the region. It will also serve to increase the connection between Europe and Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The project is part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative, which aims to revitalize the age-old Silk Road.