1,250-mile road linking Europe to China given green light

Asia. True colour satellite image centred on Asia, with nearly all of Africa (down left) and Europe (upper left) seen. This image shows the curvature of the Earth, with north-south lines converging towards top. The terrain of Asia varies from deserts (brown, central and southern Asia), to tropical rainforests (dark green, South-East Asia and the Malay Archipelago), to grasslands, forests and tundra (lighter green, northern Asia), and mountain ranges (centre). Also seen is the Arctic (top), Alaska (top right), and the Pacific Ocean (right) and Indian Ocean (lower left). The image used data from LANDSAT 5 & 7 satellites., Asia, True Colour Satellite Image (Photo by Planet Observer/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
CNN  — 

A new highway stretching 1,250 miles through Russia has received the green light from officials.

The “Meridan” highway will reach almost 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) long and will run westward from the country’s border with Kazakhstan, creating the shortest route to move goods between mainland Europe and China, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The agency said that Russian politician Dmitry Medvedev approved the first phase of the project, which will be funded as part of a partnership between private investors with state support.

The project will cost an estimated 600 billion rubles – around $9.4 billion. RIA Novosti reported that more than 80% of the land needed for the construction of the highway has already been bought.

The new road will also improve European access to Western Russia and Central Asia by car.

The project is just one of many aiming to improve infrastructure and connectivity in the area.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a global infrastructure policy aiming to build ports, roads and railways to create new trade corridors linking China to Asia, Africa and Europe.

CNN’s Darya Tarasova and James Griffiths contributed to this report.