I do not know how best to call this story. Two thousand kilometers of broken roads? Are we building autobahns too? Death Road along Balkhash? Pajero keeps hitting? All these titles are suitable only for individual parts of the story. It is better to tell everything in order, and then decide for yourself how best to call it.Having read Internet reviews on some of the roads in Kazakhstan, I decided to see for myself – what really is there to be. I haven’t traveled along some roads for a long time, I have never been somewhere before, but I have read something about recent routes, and I was surprised. Therefore, I drove along the route Alma-Ata – Taldy-Kurgan – Ayaguz – Ust-Kamenogorsk – Semipalatinsk – Pavlodar – Astana – Karaganda – Balkhash – Alma-Ata.
My car is same before – MMC Pajero 3.0L GLS 2007 Model. Also, video recorder and navigator, telephones and a great desire to get there and back (as usual). I did not specially prepare the car, I just checked the wheel adjustment.
Main rule – to drive strictly according to signs, not exceeding the speed limit. I want to see – is it possible to drive at 50km / h. long time. Such restrictions, according to rumors, will be too much on this route
I started at four in the morning. The “0 km” point for the first day of the autotravel will be on the Kapchagai bridge, on the outskirts of the city. The first section of the road is known to everyone – 55 kilometers of the six-lane highway to Kapchagay.
Road junction will be soon after the dam of the Kapchagai hydroelectric station, the road to Bakanas will go to the left. Further, at the 85th kilometer, another junction. Road to the shore and lot of recreation centers will go rightward.
Chingeldy village will be after ten kilometers. We are driving these four kilometers in the village with speed limit 60. Ok, passed. The next large settlement will be only 55 km away, Sary-Ozek city.
At 127 km, the start of ascent to the Arkharly Pass, speed limit 70. Duration of this restriction is shown on the plate – 4.7 km, but in fact it is six and a half kilometers. I was driving early morning, the police were not there, but during the day they are constantly here, they are driving back and forth with the radar. At the last year I already had a conversation with them, when come back from the Far East. Today, the road is almost empty, quiet and calm, disregarding dying truck.
For the rest, there are very few speed limits on the way to Taldy-Kurgan. The four-lane road ends at the 227th km. from Alma-Ata, it is 23 kilometers before Taldy-Kurgan. More one year the road has been completed in this place, a detour is going along the village, speed limit 40, narrow carriageway. You can drive Taldy-Kurgan through the city, but there are a lot of traffic lights and speed limits 40 in the central part, so I choose the route along the bypass road (on the right) and … drive past the turn.
There aren’t any traffic signs. I traveled here more than once and know this road, but missed. I had to turn around. The city starts right behind the intersection, so you can safely drive 100 km / h. And even 110, because a significant part of the bypass road is equipped with a dividing strip. In the following photo this ill-fated crossroad. As you can see, there are no signs from the side of the bypass road either.
After the airport of Taldy-Kurgan, the good road is finished and already from the 280th kilometer there are marked deterioration of the road, ruts, patches, potholes, speed limit 70.
Driving through Kyzylagash village. For eight years since the tragedy, trees have grown on the new streets of the village, people have set up houses, and only the sculptural group recalls the events of that terrible night.
The distance from 308th kilometer (Kyzylagash) till 349th kilometer (Sagabuen) is slightly better. I always liked this piece of the route – the road is straight and the visibility is excellent. In addition, closer to the village Kyzylagash, the road has dividing lane, and this is plus 10 kilometers to the allowed speed. Even now, the condition of the road allows you to keep almost maximum speed. Then, starting four kilometers before Sarkand (the 398th kilometer), the road is good road to Almaly only (411th kilometer).
Further the road is even worse. There are constant transverse dents on the road from Kolbay to Kabanbay. Oh, those dents … The first time I tried them nine years ago and since then nothing has changed, in the sense – it has not become better. Yes, and the road itself, going over the hills, with a limited view and very limited space for overtaking, reduces the average speed of movement.
Gradually, the terrain is leveled, but there are lot of holes and pieces of missing asphalt. Speed limits 50 of varying lengths. I would like to stand and look around, because nature is very beautiful, but we must go and look not on the sides, on the road.
495th kilometer. Kabanbay village. The road to Ust-Kamenogorsk is on the left, on the right, through the mountains, to Alakol. Here, right behind the roundabout, the police are constantly standing. The position is comfortable: looking direction of Alma-Ata, they watch cars passing roundabout, looking direction of Ust-Kamenogorsk – they register speeding and violation of the overtaking rules.
After Kabanbai village the road improved somewhat. Well, as it improved… It ceases to be very bad right up the turn to Ucharal (Lake Alakol and, further, to the Chinese border).
This road goes down to Ucharal.
546 kilometers from Almaty. Turn to the Ucharal city. Hotel, several different gas stations. “KazMunayGaz” and new gas station “Royal Petrol” are here. Stationary police post is here, immediately behind the roundabout.
Again the lousy road, and for a long time. Fresh asphalt patches will appear on the 650th kilometer only.
The road in Ayaguz is very good and was made less than two years ago. Made only in the city. I regret one thing – the city is very small and you drive through it nicely, but too quickly. That would be a city of two hundred kilometers in length, it is a pleasure to drive on such asphalt.
The road is divided at the entrance to Kalbatau. Semipalatinsk to the left, Ust-Kamenogorsk to the right with a deep detour, but you can drive through the village, which I did.
The first kilometers from Kalbatau towards Ust-Kamenogorsk do not promise anything good, and then I notice the signs of the upcoming construction of a new road. It is construction, not repair. Make a new roadbed, not applying to the folds of the terrain, but cutting and smoothing them. The road will be smooth, without blind zones. So, the road reconstruction is staeted after two years promises. And solidly, in a big way. “I regret one thing – years.” If 250 kilometers from Alma-Ata to Taldy-Kurgan were built for five years, how many years will 750 kilometers from Taldy-Kurgan to Ust-Kamenogorsk be built?
The road from Ust-Kamenogorsk to Semipalatinsk on the left bank of the Irtysh is as follows: the first 40 kilometers are quite fresh asphalt, a good smooth road, there is no road marking. Further, thirty kilometers, old asphalt, hummocks, there are no blatant pits, old pits are repaired, this is around Tavrichesky village. This is the worst part of the road , but the beautiful views of the Irtysh, flowing to the right of the road, periodically improve mood. Large stretch of smooth road will be next, with road marking, the asphalt is not laid yesterday, but in excellent condition. There is a small stretch of fresh asphalt and road works were carried out there.
At the 150th kilometer is the section of hard asphalt, like they have filled in with tar and crushed stone, but the road is level, there are no holes, just hard asphalt, noisy.
There is a large signpost – a dangerous stretch of road 20 km. Most likely due to the large number of “blind” zones for overtaking.
At the 175th kilometer of hard asphalt finished.
From the 180th kilometer the old shaking road is starned, but without holes.
The 200th kilometer is Semipalatinsk.
There is an alternative to this road. From Ust-Kamenogorsk to Shemonaiha (via Sekisovka or Predgornoye). Next to Dmitrievka, Kamyshenka and Semipalatinsk. I will not lie, never went myself from Shemonaiha to Dmitrievka. But the rest of the route took place in 2016-2017. In my opinion, the road along the left bank of the Irtysh is much better, fifty or sixty kilometers shorter. In general, the condition of this road is the same as a bad stretch near Tavrichesky village.
The road from Semipalatinsk to Pavlodar along the right bank of the Irtysh: the first 60 km is an excellent road, then it will be 10 km. of deep detour. Unclear – why it was necessary to take the temporary bypass road so far from the main road, even cut it through the forest. Perhaps bypassing wetlands, I do not know. After this detour, there is again excellent road, repairs begin at 105 km, detours along different roads.
You can get from Semipalatinsk to Pavlodar along the left bank of the Irtysh, through the Kurchatov city. The distance there is about the same, but there is no such repair and construction work. According to users of Kazakhstan Internet forums, the road can be considered satisfactory. There is a grader section, a length of about three kilometers and one or two detour areas where repairs are underway. It is possible that today, this option may seem more preferable.
From Pavlodar to Astana, the highway soon begins, about ten minutes, and then there is construction of varying degrees of readiness. You drive along a rigid bypass road, then along sections of old asphalt, but there are many sections where you drive along the already completed half of the road. The speed limit, basically, is 60 km / h.
After turning to Karaganda, there will be a section of the finished highway again, relatively small, then we go along the finished half of the highway, now to the right, then to the left. Once it seemed to me that I had slipped the return to my half of the road. I’m going opposite lane, the separation barrier is on the right, sometimes there are technical gaps in the fence, but there are no prescriptive signs. Towards me, to Pavlodar, cars periodically go, but in my direction – no one!
If only, to catch up with anyone, or if someone overtook me… So no. And, most importantly, the road to my right is completely ready. Well, I think, this is how I’m going to fall right into the warm embrace of the traffic police. It is terrible imagine the size of fine, which will be ripped off from me for the passage of fifteen kilometers finished highway in the opposite lane. Much has been rethought and re-understood at these moments. However, soon, two seconds before a heart attack, I saw signs of returning to my lane, moved and calmed down. In this area, the speed limit is 60, the police are driving back and forth with a radar. Then the highway will begin again, and this will be as far as Astana.
Astana. I haven’t seen this city for eight years, but it’s still prettier and prettier.
Astana – Karaganda. Soon after Astana, the highway starts, goes to Temirtau. There is nothing to talk about here. You can turn on the cruise control at 140 km / h and drove. Then, at the end of the highway, the quality of the road to Karaganda is good, but sometimes it is narrow.
I drove to Karaganda and figured – after highway construction travel time between these two cities was reduced twice. It is understandable – the old road had two lanes, went through the villages, and the allowed speed was much less. I drove Karaganda through the city center, via Gogol Street, did not go along the bypass road. I don’t know if it is there now and in what condition. At least, the seen road signs advised to go that way – through the center.
The road from Karaganda to Aksu-Ayuly is pretty tired, this is strongly felt after the highway especially. Two-lane road, there are areas with limited visibility too much, the machines are knocked down behind the trucks. This road was thoroughly repaired about fifteen years ago, but they let it through all the folds of the terrain, almost without aligning anything.
Now we are lagging by hills and bends behind the trucks. From Aksu-Ayuly village to the intersection Agadyr / Akchatau, the road has fairly good quality of asphalt. The road becomes worse after intersection again, shakes stronger. The police in Aksu-Ayuly stands right at the intersection, at the village entrance, despite the early hour – 5 am. Also, the police car was 30 kilometers after the village, something was guarding. And one more police car – near the turn to Akzhal.
to be continued…
to be continued…
P.S. The legend of the road Alma-Ata – Ust-Kamenogorsk.
0 km. start from the Kapchagay bridge.
10 km. the road junction. Beginning of the road to Khorgos.
55 km. the trunk is over.
63 km. the town of Kapchagai is over.
bridge and dam of the hydroelectric station are ahead . Speed limit 50, overtaking is prohibited.
85 km. interchange, road to the urban recreation areas.
95 – 99 km. Chingeldy village.
111 km. parking place, shop.
122 km. on the left side – cafe Miras, parking place. The Arkharly Pass is visible.
127 km. the beginning of the ascent to the Arkharly Pass. Small cafe on the right. Speed limit 70 during 4.7 km.
129 km. shopping complex.
132 km. Arkharly Pass
133.5 km. the end of the speed limit148 km. the temperature in the city was 15 degrees, then rose to 18 degrees. The temperature is 9 degrees in this place, the time is 5.30 am.
154 km. Sary-Ozek city.
175 km . parking place
205 km. descent 5% and waves on the road.
218 km. descent, speed limit 80.
227 km. the end of the new road, dividing line has disappeared, the railway crossing. Speed limit 50.
240 km. Taldy-Kurgan city, the border of the city begins right around the bend, the bypass road to the right, no signs.
268 km. airport. ends of good road. Speed limit 70.
273 km. the dividing line has disappeared, the road is rather mediocre.
280 km. road deterioration, ruts, patches, bumps. Speed limit 70.288 km. turn on the village of Kapal.
300 km. small lake on the left.
303 km. roundabout, turn on the village of Lepsy.
308 km. Kyzyl-Agash village.
349 km. Sagabuen village.
359 km. road signs “rough road” appear. Speed limit 70 during 5 km.
368 km. Zhansugurov village. The bypass road is on the right, the speed limit as suburban.
374 km Tausamaly village.
378 km. speed limit 50 for 2 km.
398 km. began a good road to Sarkand.
402 km. Sarkand city, gas station KMG.
411 km. Almaly village.
beyond the village of Almala there went a rut, fresh patches, the most terrible pits filled up.
416 km. speed limit 50, fresh patches, but the road is bad, then they didn’t make any repairs, the pits remained as they were.
425 km. a five-kilometer stretch of heavily broken road, speed limit 50.
438 km. the road has improved a little.
445 km Koylyk village, a very bad road in the village.
454 km r. Lepsy. Border of Alakol district.
460 km. transverse dents are started.
there were road workers, from time to time groups of people in vests measuring something, drawing circles with white and red paint on the asphalt, maybe repair will be start really soon.
468 km. Kolbay village.
485 km. there is also a road with pits in this section, but it goes along the hills, so overtaking is often forbidden.
495 km. Kabanbay village. left to Ust-Kamenogorsk, right through the mountains to Lake Alakol. Here the police are constantly on the roundabout.
498 km. Gas station KMG.
516 km. parking place, resting place, cafe.
519 km. Zhumakhan Balapanov village.
546 km. turn on the city Ucharal. Hotel, gas station of different brands.
590 km. deep transverse pits are near the turn to Aktogay.
606 km. Lake Sasykol (there are photos).
624 km. it seems they are starting to make a detour for reconstruction of the road.
645 km. fresh patches appeared on the asphalt, a few of big size big and a lot of small.
655 km very much broken area, 500 meters are without any asphalt absolutely, pits, speed limit 20.
673 km. turn on Urdzhar, gas station KMG.
726 km. cafe, hotel, tire service.
732 km. Shin-Kozha village.
761 km. Ayaguz city.
800 km. on the left side they make a temporary wide road, rolling with a road roller, here the reconstruction will begin soon.
935 km. relatively good stretch of road is near Zhangiztobe
960 km. Kalbatau (Georgievka) village.
1066 km. Ust-Kamenogorsk city.
to be continued…