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11 Oct, 2017 04:07

5,500-ton Crimea bridge motorway arch sails off for complex installation operation (VIDEO)

Russian engineers have finished assembling and begun transporting the massive road arch of the Crimea bridge which will link mainland Russia with the Crimean peninsula.

Vessels with floating pylons carrying the massive arch, weighing almost 5,500 tons, set off on the five-kilometer journey to deliver one of the centerpieces of the road section of the Kerch Strait Bridge Wednesday morning. The colossal 45-meter arch will grace a 227-meter segment of the 19-kilometer-long bridge.

The delivery of the arch from the assembly line in Kerch is being carried out by a fleet of tugboats led by a three-thousand horsepower tug, a number of smaller boats and supporting auxiliary ships. More than 100 specialists and experts, ranging from ballast operations engineers to divers, are involved in the operation.

Once the arch reaches its destination point, the floating system will be anchored between two fixed bridge supports. This will be followed by the key stage of the maritime operation – the lifting of the arch.

The delivery and subsequent installation of the road arch is a milestone operation in the history of Russian maritime engineering. Using experience previously acquired during the shipping and erection of the railway arch section in August, engineers are confident of completing the structure without any mishaps.

The arch consists of 200 large pieces and was constructed over the past year on a specially created open-air assembly point in Kerch. It is designed for the passage of ships under the bridge and can withstand the toughest weather conditions and natural phenomena.

READ MORE: Russian navy ship passes under arch of epic Crimea Bridge for 1st time (VIDEO)

“The road arch is interesting primarily because of its location. Seismicity in the construction area may reach 8-9 magnitude, but nothing will happen to the arch during the earthquake, because the structure is designed with an excess strength reserve,” said Chief Project Engineer, Sergey Lyuty.

The arch will serve as an iconic masterpiece of a four-lane highway that will link the Crimean Peninsula with Russia’s mainland. The 19km bridge is set to be fully operational by 2019 and will become one of Russia’s and Europe’s largest.