How in just two years the Crimean bridge was built

Movement of cars on it will begin early in the morning on May, 16th.
Today, May 15, in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the opening ceremony of an automobile bridge across the Kerch Strait will take place. The movement of cars on it will begin the next day - May 16 at 5.30 Moscow time.

The Crimean bridge is one of the largest in Russia. Its length is 19 km. It consists of a parallel car (two lanes in each direction) and a railway (on one track) trails. The bridge begins on the Taman Peninsula, runs along the existing 5-kilometer dam and the island of Tuzla, and then crosses the Kerch Strait and overlooks the Crimean coast.

The car bridge was built ahead of schedule for six months. True, while the travel on it will be open only for cars and public transport. It is expected that trucks will be admitted to the bridge in the autumn of this year. Commissioning of the parallel railway bridge is scheduled for December 2019.

Why we need a bridge

For the first time the idea of ​​building a bridge appeared more than 100 years ago. But the implementation of the project began only after the accession of the Crimea to Russia. Before that, it was more convenient to get to the peninsula through Ukraine. But the latter, after the loss of the Crimea, announced its complete blockade, stopping not only transport communication, but also any supplies, including electricity and water. In fact, the peninsula turned into an island.

The project is conditioned not so much by economic, as by political reasons, believes Mikhail Blinkin, Director of the Institute of Transport of the Higher School of Economics. Crimea could do with the system of ferries, said earlier ex-head of the Sevastopol Legislative Assembly Alexei Chaly Forbes. But this is an irregular mode of transport. Sometimes ferries have to wait for hours, and in case of bad weather, the crossing is completely closed.

Until now, two-thirds of tourists have arrived in Crimea through ferry crossing, says vice president of the Center for Infrastructure Economics Pavel Chistyakov. Therefore, he said, it was important to provide a comfortable mode of transportation. Now from one bank to another, you can drive in just 15 minutes.

How to choose a project

Before choosing a specific option and determining the estimate, experts examined 74 variants of the transport transition, recalls the head of Rosavtodor Roman Starovoit. Among them was a two-tiered bridge and an underwater tunnel along the bottom of the Kerch Strait at a depth of 100 m, but the choice fell on the bridge in the Tuzla alignment. The bridge could be much shorter if it was built in the area of ​​the spit Chushka, where the ferry is now located. But this option is not suitable because of the tectonic fault and mud volcanoes there. In addition, construction would completely stop the work of the ferry crossing, says Starovoit.

In February 2016 the project of the Crimean bridge received a positive conclusion of Glavgosexpertiza. After that, construction began.

How to appoint a contractor

The cost of the bridge is 227.9 billion rubles. The contractor of the project received a contract for 222.4 billion rubles. General contractor - Stroygazmontazh LLC Arcadia Rotenberg was chosen without competition due to lack of competitors.

The project was also interested in the structures of Gennady Timchenko, but in the end he did not qualify for it. "This is a very difficult project for us. I'm not sure that we will manage, "Tass quoted Tymchenko as saying. "I do not want to take reputational risks." Rotenberg in his interview to Kommersant called the Crimean bridge his "contribution to the development of the country."

The main subcontractor of "Stroygazmontazh" was "Mostotrest" - he received a contract for 96.9 billion rubles. At the time of receipt of the contract, this company also belonged to Rothenberg. Shortly before the construction of the bridge, he sold the stake. But in April 2018, the businessman bought it back. The representative of the businessman explained this by increasing the competence of Mostotrest during the bridge construction. For example, the culmination was the construction, and then installation within 72 hours of the railway and automobile arches of both bridges. The length of the spans is 227 m, and the arches themselves weigh 7,000 tons for the railway section and 6,000 tons for the road. To pass vessels passing through the Kerch Strait, a wide corridor is provided: arched spans rise 35 m above the water.

How to build

The main construction and installation works began in 2016, they unfolded simultaneously along the entire length of the bridge - on eight sea and land sections - rather than from shore to shore, as in traditional bridge construction. The main problems were related to weather conditions: complex geology, high seismic (up to 9 points) and uneasy meteorological conditions in the Kerch Strait. "The Crimean bridge is being erected in a seismically dangerous zone and in the condition of weak soils - instead of solid rocks at the bottom of the Kerch Strait, multi-meter layers of mud and sand. Therefore, the bridge design must have increased strength. For this, the piles were loaded into the ground to a depth of 105 m, "commented Vladimir Tsoi, chief specialist on artificial structures of the DSC Avtoban. In addition, to ensure seismic stability piles are driven both vertically and at an angle; inclined will be much better able to withstand the load of floating ice during the period of ice drift, Tsoi continues. At the base of the Crimean bridge there are more than 6500 piles, above them there are 595 supports, and the weight of one overcoming passage over the water reaches 580 tons.

How money was spent

Under the project, 170 billion rubles. it is envisaged for the creation of the main structures of road and railway bridges and adjacent areas, 9 billion rubles. - for design and survey work, another 4.8 billion rubles. go to land redemption and unforeseen expenses, the remaining costs (about 44 billion rubles.) - the preparation of the territory, temporary buildings and facilities, energy facilities, says Starovoit. Tried and saved, for example, choosing the optimal solution for the length and spans - an average of 55 and 63 m, conveyed through the representative of the director of the Institute "Giprostroymost - St. Petersburg" Ilya Rutman.

Despite this, the budget burden proved to be more than significant. Because of the construction of the Crimean bridge, it was decided not to finance the construction of another important geopolitical transport facility - a bridge across the Lena River in Yakutia, regional and federal officials told Vedomosti. The project was not abandoned, the construction of the bridge will begin after 2020, said the representative of the Ministry of Transport of Russia.

Bridge to the holiday

Thanks to the bridge to get to the Crimea it will be much easier. The authorities of the peninsula expect an influx of tourists. Last year, 5.39 million people came to the Crimea. The tourist flow after the bridge can increase by 1.5-2 times - up to 8-10 million tourists a year, wrote on his page in Facebook the head of the region Sergei Aksenov.

But the convenience of using the bridge directly will depend on when the adjacent roads, in particular the federal "Tavrida" highway, will be completed, says Chistyakov. "Tavrida" will connect Kerch with Simferopol and Sevastopol. The project will cost 163 billion rubles, the contractor - VAD. The first stage of construction (two lanes) is planned to be completed by the end of 2018, the second (two more lanes) by the end of 2020. If the bridge opens earlier than Tavrida, then traffic jams in Crimea can not be avoided, the Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov warned in the spring . The head of the State Committee for Road Economy of the Crimea Sergey Karpov is also waiting for difficulties in the movement along the territory of the peninsula.

Problems can arise on the other side of the bridge: the roads of the Krasnodar region on the approaches to the bridge are not yet ready for loading, says Chistyakov. The road is 40 km long from the route M25 Novorossiysk - Kerch Strait to the bridge. But some of the junctions are still under construction, says a man close to Rosavtodor. Almost along its entire length, there is an extension from 2-3 lanes to four, the representative of the Ministry of Transport said. You can reach the bridge along the Krasnodar-Slavyansk-on-Kubani-Temryuk (P251) or Krymsk (A146) route, says Chistyakov, but both roads are not motorways and pass through settlements. Rosavtodor has a road reconstruction project through the city of Slavyansk-on-Kuban. It is considered a distant approach to the bridge and was recently transferred to the federal property, its reconstruction is estimated at about 70 billion rubles. It is planned to complete it by 2023, a person close to Rosavtodor said. The only renovated road - through Krymsk - is brought into the normative state, but it is actively using freight transport, the interlocutor of Vedomosti says. Plans for the development of the road network around the Crimean bridge in the Krasnodar Territory will be implemented in full almost simultaneously with the completion of the construction of the Tavrida road to the Crimea, the representative of the Ministry of Transport promises.