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Building a bridge in record time

Photo: COWI

​Work will continue on the Western High-Speed Diameter Project during the freezing Russian winter.

​Work on COWI's massive St Petersburg Western High-Speed Diameter Project (WHSD) link will continue during the extreme Russian winter.

The St Petersburg bridge link is steadily moving ahead. In just three months, a once desolate area of the city has taken on new life, as towering cranes and new structures are taking shape everywhere. But the Russian winter is just months away, and getting the building site ready in time is a race against the clock.

“The Russian winter is expected to be quite severe this year with temperatures going as low as -25 degrees Celsius. Unlike other countries with similar weather conditions, work is scheduled to continue throughout winter. But work is bound to slow down considerably,” says Project Manager Robert Uthwatt.
To be able to continue the work during winter, a number of artificial islands have been made by pumping sand within a rock-contained island. Other islands have been made by filling sheet piled areas with sand.

What it takes to build a bridge

Construction of the St Petersburg bridge link is set to take three years and, at present, six months of work have been completed. A number of piles and pile caps for the bridge structure have been completed, as well as some ground improvement work to facilitate work on land.
Building a major bridge means transporting a huge amount of building materials to the building site every single day.
“It is difficult to say exactly how much material we receive on a daily basis, but in the past six months we have brought in 15,000 tonnes of steel for temporary flyovers, plus 8,000 tonnes of reinforcement as well as approximately 1,000,000 m³ of sand,” says Uthwatt.
Starting from January, which is but a few months away, Uthwatt expects to receive approximately 400 tonnes of structural steelwork every day throughout 2014.

LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016