Sochi 2014 – Herculean efforts to build Olympic facilities

With the 2014 Winter Olympics approaching, construction of the facilities in Russia's resort town of Sochi is a chance for those in charge to show off what they can do.

Rugged mountains and snowy slopes make for perfect skiing, although for railway builders they represent the ultimate test.

A celebration at the finishing line marks the end of a vast construction challenge.

It has taken a Herculean effort to smash and drill through nearly three kilometers of rock and earth to build a railway tunnel in Sochi, but it is just one part of a very big picture.

In the coming years 77 facilities – including roads, bridges and overpasses – will have to be built along the Mzymta River to provide transportation for the thousands of athletes and visitors attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.

For Russian Railways, Sochi is the perfect place to show off its state-of-the art technology. The Olympic project needs a totally new approach to construction and logistics. All facilities must be compact, eco-friendly, and built as quickly as possible.

“We are following the rules of the International Olympic Committee of course, but we are putting the interests of local people first,” said Vladimir Yakunin, the president of Russian Railways. “So when they protested against builders' plans to cut a few boxwood trees, we decided to replant those trees and also plant 500 more.”

The 2014 Winter Olympic vision doesn’t just end with the event itself – the investment and infrastructure will be enjoyed by local residents for generations to come – while the region’s Black Sea coast and world-class ski resorts will soon play host to even more tourists, year round.