Russia installs Crimea bridge railway arch in unique operation (VIDEO)

Russia installs Crimea bridge railway arch in unique operation (VIDEO)
Russian engineers have begun a 72-hour moving operation to position a 227-meter-long railway arch for the Crimea Bridge on the piers located in the Kerch Strait in what is regarded as a “unique operation” in global bridge building.

The arch, which stands 227 meters long and 45 meters high, was assembled onshore at the Kerch Peninsula. On Sunday, the construction teams started transporting the whole construction, which weighs more than 6,000 tonnes into place in the Kerch Strait, where it will be installed on special 35 meter-high piers and thus form one of the fairway arches of the Crimea Bridge.

“The maritime operation [envisaged] in the Crimea Bridge construction project is without exaggeration unique for the world’s bridge building,” the deputy CEO on infrastructure projects of the Stroygazmontazh company, which is responsible for the operation, said, as cited by RIA news agency.

The whole operation, which involves the transportation of the arch, its lifting and installation, is scheduled to take 72 hours, during which time navigation through the strait will be suspended. The work started early Sunday when the construction was placed on special floating piers.

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By Monday morning, the construction was towed some 5km to its final destination through a route, along which the seabed was dug in some places to allow the floating platform to pass.

At that point the engineers started attaching to it cables from the cranes that will lift the arch before it can be placed on the bridge. The lifting process is quite slow, paced at only 5 meters per hour.

After the arch is installed, it will enable a two-way railroad service and allow any ships that currently navigate through the Kerch Strait to sail under it. A second arch for the motor vehicle section of the bridge is to be installed in a similar operation later.

Once finished, the 19 kilometer (12 miles) Crimean Bridge will become one of Russia’s and Europe’s largest. The ambitious multibillion-dollar project will connect Crimea with Krasnodar Region in mainland Russia, allowing fast, reliable and cost-efficient transportation for passengers, goods and services.

The bridge will have a four-lane highway and a two-lane railroad, and will be capable of providing access for up to 40,000 people and dozens of trains a day to the peninsula over the Kerch Strait. It is scheduled to be opened by late 2018 and to become fully operational by 2019.