Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday opened a new toll highway linking Moscow with the country's second largest city, Saint Petersburg, according to a Kremlin statement.
The 669-km highway, designated as M11, will be named Neva after a river crossing St. Petersburg, Putin said at the opening ceremony, citing the result of a public vote on the name, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The highway will shorten the time for travelling between the two cities to less than six hours, compared with 10 hours on M10.
The infrastructure around the highway should be the most modern, and include recreation centres, gas stations, food stores, communications, and the internet, among others, Putin said at a meeting on the impact of the new highway on the socio-economic development of regions around it.
"Everything must be up-to-date, just as the motorway itself," Putin said.
According to Putin, the new road will play a significant role for the northwest of Russia and the whole country by increasing the competitiveness of regions along it, increasing their investment attractiveness and opening new opportunities for the tourism industry.