One Of Russia's Most Important Infrastructure Projects Is About To Be Completed

One Of Russia's Most Important Infrastructure Projects Is About To Be Completed

In the 1970s, the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) made headlines around the world as the “construction of the century.” At the time, the BAM was the world’s longest railway under construction and one of the shortest routes from Europe to the Pacific Ocean, South Yakutia and other Russian regions. The BAM is 3,509 km long and crosses several large rivers, seven mountain ranges, traverses through a thousand bridges and eleven tunnels. For decades before and up until now, the BAM has played a crucial role in freight traffic in Russia. After years of service, the time for a major upgrade has come, and now the large-scale reconstruction of the BAM is underway, including the construction of a second, larger tunnel in the Baikal mountain range.

Large-Scale Construction

After the construction is completed, the new Baikal tunnel will drastically increase the BAM’s volume and speed of cargo transportation. A significantly higher traffic capacity of the Lena–Severobaikalsk section is expected, and up to 25 trains will be able to pass through it in a day. Considering that the previous transit capacity of this section was 15 trains per day, the capacity will almost double. Industry experts estimate that these improvements will make it possible to transport 32 million tons of cargo per year by rail, which is significantly higher than the current 13 million tons. The 6.7-km-long tunnel will be one of BAM’s largest manmade structures.

Meeting Demands

Facilitating the increase of the transit capacity, the tunnel will make an important contribution to the role that the BAM will play in the New Silk Road, which will enable cargo transportation between Asia and Europe. It will also help meet the significantly increasing demand resulting from the increase in freight volume that has occurred since the railway was first built. The construction of the new Baikal tunnel is at its final stage, and should be completed and put into operation by the end of 2019. The SK Most group of companies carrying out this project is one of the leaders in Russian infrastructure construction.


SK Most: An Expert in Building Infrastructure 

The SK Most group of companies was established in 1991. Today, it is a large holding made up of twelve bridge-building enterprises and three tunneling divisions. Russian businessman Ruslan Baisarov owns the controlling stake—56% of the group's shares—and is the chairman of the JSC “USK Most” board of directors. Thanks to many years of experience in infrastructure construction industry, Baisarov’s team has all the skills that are necessary to play a key role in the BAM and Trans-Siberian railway modernization project.

The SK Most group of companies carries out large-scale projects, including the construction of highways, hydraulic structures and ports. It takes part in many construction projects throughout Russia. In March, Russian and Chinese workers connected both sides of the first railway bridge over the Amur River to China near the village of Nizhneleninskoe in the Jewish Autonomous Region of Russia. “Our companies have built a bridge. The Russian part is 309 meters long and the entire bridge with adjacent access roads is over 5 km. Its carrying capacity is 21 million tons of cargo per year. The extraordinary feature of the bridge is that it is designed for trains using railway tracks of various gauges: a width of 1,520 mm for Russian rolling stock and 1,435 mm for Chinese rolling stock. This is undoubtedly a very important project that will strengthen trade and economic ties between the two countries and shorten existing routes to consumers in China and Southeast Asia by more than 1,700 km,” said Mr. Baisarov.

Innovations in Implementing a Complex Project

The new Baikal tunnel is a large-scale project, not only in terms of volume, but also in complexity; over 1,200 people work on it and more than 100 units of the most modern equipment and construction machinery are being used. The new tunnel is located under the Daban junction, about 35 meters to the left of the existing tunnel. The new Baikal tunnel is being built in a zone with high seismic activity. Advanced drilling and blasting methods have been used to solve complex geological problems during excavation.

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