SK Most Group of Companies, owned by prominent Russian businessman Ruslan Baysarov, is working on an important project in Sakhalin together with Russian Railways to change the width of the railroad to the federal standard gauge.
Experts have noted that this is a modernization project of unprecedented levels, both in terms of the terrain it encompasses and the amount of work involved. As part of its overhaul of the railroad, SK Most Group of Companies is reconstructing 53 infrastructure facilities in the Arsentyevka-the Nogliki section and nine in the Shakhta-Kholmsk-Chekhov section.
Goodbye narrow-gauge rail!
The Sakhalin project is in the final stages of construction. Railroad workers have recently begun changing the gauge on the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk-Vzmorye section by completely dismantling and replacing the old narrow-gauge railroad. By the end of August, work on over 900 kilometers of track on the western and eastern coasts of the island will be completed.
Ruslan Baysarov’s company is also reconstructing the bridges that hold the railroad tracks and simultaneously building more than 30 bridges across Sakhalin. SK Most Group of Companies specialists said that just about all the bridges are being rebuilt with new pillars and new span structures. The bridges at the 249th and 269th kilometer of the Arsentevka-Nogliki section of the Far Eastern Railway are the largest bridges being rebuilt. The total mass of the span of the new bridge comes to 400 tons of steel structures.
The conversion of the entire railroad to the network-wide gauge (1,520 millimeters from the Japanese standard of 1,067 millimeters) is scheduled to be completed in 2020 with the conclusion of work on the remaining section between Kholmsk and Shakhty. Passenger trains have already started running on the upgraded broad-gauge track between Kholmsk and Tomari.
Baysarov’s company has been getting work done without a glitch
Experts have noted that the Sakhalin project is labor-intensive and technologically challenging. SK Most commented on the difficulty of transporting equipment as well as metal and reinforced concrete from the mainland. A total of some 300 pieces of machinery and over 150 pieces of equipment had to be put into operation quickly. Time was a factor as more than 50 bridges had to be completely rebuilt in only two years. Moreover, the work required track possession while not allowing any delays in train traffic.
Baysarov’s company will complete its part of the work on the Arsentevka-Nogliki section from the eighth to the 367th kilometer this year. In 2020, the remaining nine facilities in the Shakhta-Kholmsk-Chekhov section will have to be modernized by actually being rebuilt, and work on this phase has already begun.
Throughout the project, the experts at SK Most have always remained on schedule despite the difficulties of working in this region. Sakhalin is an island, and as such, there is always the possibility of delays in the delivery of machinery, equipment, materials and span structures due to storms or disruptions in the ferry service. However, the many years of experience of SK Most Group of Companies serves it well in ensuring that all factors that could affect the work schedule are taken into account.
Even wild animals have proven incapable of stopping the work process. Such incidents can happen more frequently than expected as when workers encountered a bear at the 190th kilometer recently.
Logistics that are well planned also make it possible to adhere strictly to the schedule. The company has been using six drilling machines to build foundations for bored piles at six sites simultaneously. Baysarov’s company has also managed to assemble metal spans at eight sites at the same time. Overall, construction has been taking place at 20-25 sites concurrently. This takes a workforce of 600 to 800 people, depending on the shift. SK Most Group of Companies takes great care to provide employees with living conditions that are as comfortable as possible.
No task too hard
The experience gained in Sakhalin has been invaluable for the employees of Baysarov’s company. The structures that it has been reconstructing were previously decrepit and needed constant repairs since they had been built by the Japanese more than 80 years ago. For example, one of the most important bridges that the company has been working on is the bridge across the Angara River located at the 264th kilometer of the railroad. The bridge was built in 1930 and was in serious disrepair. In fact, Baysarov’s company has not really been rebuilding the bridge. It has been building it from scratch.
Nevertheless, SK Most Group of Companies is accustomed to carrying out difficult tasks. Since 1991, the group has worked on a wide range of projects besides bridges. It has built tunnels, highways, railroads, ports, piers and more. Currently, the enormous holding company has 12 bridge-building enterprises and three tunnel firms that are ready to start projects anywhere in the country within a month’s notice. Moreover, each project, by virtue of its uniqueness and specificity, is a test of professionalism that the bridge workers make sure to pass with flying colors.
SK Most Group of Companies built the cable-stayed bridge to Russky Island pictured on the 2,000-ruble bill. It has constructed a number of facilities from scratch at the Arctic seaport of Sabetta on the east coast of the Yamal Peninsula and in the climatically difficult conditions of the Extreme North. It did so without any supporting infrastructure, yet its work will ensure that freight can be shipped along the Northern Sea Route all year round.
In Moscow, SK Most Group of Companies is working on the subway between the Okskaya and Nizhegorodskaya metro stations and also building the new Nekrasovskaya line. This project has presented challenges due to its location under densely populated areas and its proximity to the Moscow Railway.
In addition, Baysarov’s company is building the Second Baikal Tunnel, which will increase freight capacity by 250% and thus contribute to the industrial development of the Far East. This project is unique in its length of 6.7 kilometers as well as its location in a zone with 12 tectonic faults and a great amount of seismic activity.
SK Most is building the first railroad bridge between Russia and China near the village of Nizhneleninskoe and the city of Tongjiang. Furthermore, it is about to complete the construction of a highway bridge connecting Blagoveshchensk, Russia and Heihe, China, across the Amur River. Both sides of the bridge have already been joined, and construction is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2019 with the commissioning of the bridge scheduled for the spring of 2020.