World’s most expensive road – Belgium road tolls

NEWS: Is the Sochi Winter Olympics road the World’s Most Expensive? Both Belgium and Turkey take concrete steps towards new road toll schemes, there’s a potential blocade of the Turkey/Bulgaria border on Monday and more change at Germany’s scandal hit ADAC.

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SOCHI: THE MOST EXPENSIVE ROAD IN THE WORLD?

Believe the hype then the road serving the Olympic skiing competition is the costliest ever.

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Built at a mind-boggling cost of around £5.75bn, the 46.5km long A148 snakes up the mile high West Caucasus mountains in south west Russia.

It connects the Black Sea coast with Krasnaya Polyana, host of the Olympic skiing competitions.

‘It’s actually one of the most expensive roads in the entire world,’ says VICE News reporter @SimonOstrovsky. ‘This thirty mile stretch cost roughly ten billion [dollars]. That’s like 1,000 miles of the most expensive interstate in America. It would get you from New York to Louisiana roughly.’

What Ostrovsky neglects to mention is that the cost covered the entire coast-mountain link, a hi-speed train track and road running in parallel (no separate figures have been given for the road).

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Whether Ostrovsky’s inference of massive corruption is true or not, there’s plenty to see for all that cash despite it only having a single lane in each direction (plus a cycle lane). A third of the length is either bridge or tunnel.

There are 23 bridges for a combined 9km – the longest being 1,295m and the 810m cable-stayed bridge, above – and eight tunnels in three systems adding up to 7km.

A148 doesn’t connect direct to Sochi but to Adler, 28km down the coast. It runs down the Mzymta Valley, mostly on the left bank of the river.

The proper name is the Adler-Alpica Servis route, the latter a few miles north of Krasnaya Polyana.

It’s been open since 27 November 2013. So far, critical eyes have yet to find any fault.

For more see www.skmost2014.com.

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Norway: electric car rally. Can you spot the Renaults? No, us neither. Photo via @RenaultZE

Norway: electric car rally, Oslo, Wednesday. Photo via @RenaultZE. Can you spot the Renaults? No, us neither. Lots of Nissan Leafs and Teslas though. We heard yesterday, ‘A boatload of Leafs arrives each week in Norway and they are sold almost immediately’. The Leaf and the Tesla Model S are currently taking 10% of the new car market between them and have been the best selling cars for the past three months. From being an Oslo phenomenon, EVs are now being bought around the whole country. Update 8.2.14: actually, according to official figures, Renault is the biggest seller of EVs in Europe, at least in the first half of 2013. It shifted 6,000 in total compared to sister company Nissan’s 5,500 (and third placed Smart’s 1,500).

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roundup: BELGIUM. 1,200 motorists start a two month trial into pay-as-you-go road tolls on 17 February. It seems the vignette plan is totally dead and buried. Fees will vary from 5c per km on motorways during rush hour to 9c in the city. The system is designed to replace registration and car taxes. No final decision on whether to go ahead permanently will be made until after the General Election on 25 May. TURKEY. MPs passed a law last night paving the way to introduce road and infrastructure tolls. Meanwhile, Bulgarian truckers are threatening to blockade the border on both sides Monday in the on-going dispute over transit permits. GERMANY. The beleaguered ADAC has announced a new raft of changes as it attempts to move beyond the ‘Car of the Year’ fraud. Patrol drivers will no longer be incentivised to sell batteries, the fleet of helicopters can be used on emergency calls only and a legal firm will write a new compliance code.

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