Russian roads. Russia. May 2013

Every year I have a trip from Moscow to Samara in spring and from Samara to Moscow in autumn. My wife and children spend summer time with our relatives and I deliver them a car to help them be more flexible with transportation. It's especially important because half of a summer they spend on dacha.


This year I started from Moscow early morning 1st of May. It is public holiday in Russia and I guess that roads at 5:00AM will be empty. It was a great mistake because all people think like me :-) So it was enormous traffic jam. After 10 hours I was just 180km from Moscow.
Here you can see great traffic jam on a highway. We stay 3 hours without any movement.

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Next day I read in a news that total length of this traffic jam was more than 30 km. It was funny. I familiarize with neighboors and we joke about our stupid situation. The reason for this jam was a railroad cross reconstruction and crowd of cars. So after 24 hours I travelled just 500 km and I decide to stay in a motel and had a sleep.

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Next day traffic disappear. So you can evaluate Russian roads quality. Honestly it is poor. It is highway which connects Moscow and Ural region. As you can see it is only one lane road and there is no any median strip!

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Every overtaking is a great challenge and very dangerous. It is main reason why 30 000 people died in accidents every year.

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In this part of highway was no any road markings. Also please have a look on wayside. It is dirty and no any grass. It is main feature of Russian roads. You can recognize Russia on photo by wayside :-)

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One of reasons why roads are so bad is a trucks. One man told me that most of them overloaded and destroy road surface. I beleive in it because every slop is a great challenge for truck. Speed decreased dramatically and truck crawls very slow. As result they create crowd of cars.

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In every village people sell something. Mostly it is vegetables and fruits from their gardens or mushrooms. I have distant relatives who have a hobby. They pick mushrooms. I heard last year they earn about $5000 on it. In Russia mushrooms is dainty.

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Rut is immortal satellite of Russian roads. I'm sure it appears because of overloaded trucks. Rut is very dangerous when you drive fast.

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Sometimes highway becomes much better. Median strip, second lane and road markings appear. Good roads mostly placed close to big cities. Normally when you leave from city you will have 30-60km of a good enough highway then it will transform into narrow road with one lane to each direction.

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As you see there is a rut at the right lane. It is because of overloaded trucks.

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At the same time every year roads under construction. But this repair just for couple of years because trucks will destroy road again very quickly.

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First layer cutted off but road is open and you can drive. I understand it's dangerous but in Russia it is ok.

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Wide road without median strip and road markings. Better than nothing.

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Sometimes appears road with very good quality. You can see the surface is plain.

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Right lane under repair but you can drive again. I guess it is another reason of bad roads. Workers don't follow to technical requirements.

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Perfect highway. I dream that soon or later all highways in Russia will be like this one.

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Village.

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Repairment.

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Suddenly we found this monument. It devoted to landing troops. CBRN Reconnaissance Vehicle.

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I guess restaurant owner was a landing troop. Because this monument just few meters from entrance.

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Every 30-40 km the same picture.

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Here you can see who is guilty for ugly and dirty waysides. The red truck is one from thousand drivers who stop his car wherever he wants.

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Ugly motel.

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Endless fields. I love it because you fill how Russia is big.

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Highway and wayside. Don't forget that it is one of the main highways. It connects Moscow with Ural and west Siberia.

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Now we are close to Togliatty. City where placed biggest car plant. Lada produced here. At the background you can see Zhigulevskiy mountains. Later I'll made special report about this mountains. It is not too high. Just 375m but very beautiful. It seems like mirracle because Eropean part of Russia is flat and at the middle of plain mountains 60 km long.

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Zhigulevskaya hydro electrical station. Great construction.

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Volga river and Zhigulevskiy mountains.

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Final straight to Samara. I choose "old road". It is faster than highway.

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New junction to Samara International airport.

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At the Samara edge there is a Sokoliy mountains. It is smaller than Zhigulevskiy. 270m. Sokoliy means Falcon mountains.

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Long way passed. We are crossing Samara board.

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Hope you enjoy this adventure. Honestly some roads are good enough. Especially close to big cities. But in some places it is really ugly. I hope to see during my life good highways in Russia. But government doesn't build modern roads. It just invest to endless reconstructions. At the same time roads are narrow and don't have median strips. It is main reasons for deathful acidents during overtaking. Also you cannot drive fast because of overloaded trucks which are very slow and you need to overtake it very often..
P.S. On my understanding Russian roads are not good developed yet because of few reasons:
1. Russia huge country and distances too long. As example average distance between big cities (0.5-1 mln population) about 400 km (250mi). So new highway needs high investment.
2. From 19th century main focus was on rail roads. As far as I understand to build rail road is much cheaper and faster than highway. Also rail roads and buses connects every village, town and city.
3. In Soviet Union private cars was very expensive and for most of people it was impossible to buy a car. So narrow roads was enough for buses and trucks because traffic was too low.

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