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01:09 | Nov 30 | 2012

Going Eastward!

Yakutia is to become a testing ground for road builders.

In late July the XII International Forum “Russian Roads in the XXI century” took place in Yakutsk; it brought together about 300 Russian and foreign participants. Its main topic was to discuss the road sector in the Far East.

For two days issues of road sector development specifics of the Far North and the Far East were discussed at the forum. The dialogue between government, science and industry was focused on accelerating the pace of introduction of scientific developments into the road construction process and the use of modern materials and designs. These tasks are brought into focus due to the modernization of the road sector and are of high importance for the territorial subjects of the Far East – a region that is becoming one of the centers of development of Russia.
Minister of Transport of Russia, Maxim Sokolov, who took part in the Forum, noted that now the Ministry is engaged in adjusting the country's transport strategy adopted in 2008.
“We are moving to the east, and the development of infrastructure of the Far Eastern regions is integrated in the development of transport system of Russia,” said the head of the department. “Today we can see a significant increase in cargo flow in the Asia-Pacific region, it almost doubled, and this aspect should be considered."
However, during the forum it was repeatedly highlighted that road construction in the east and particularly the north-east of the country is associated with serious complications. Moreover, the problems are not only climatic. Many industry standards are outdated, and have never taken into consideration Nordic conditions. Therefore, there came a lot of proposals that should bind them to reality. For example, the costs of construction and maintenance of a kilometer of road in some Siberian and Far Eastern territorial subjects of the federation at times exceed the amounts provided for that in the country at large.
As noted by Maxim Sokolov and the head of the Federal Road Agency Anatoly Chabunin, in this regard, the four regions of the country with complex climate conditions will become a practice ground where technologies and principles of road construction would be tested. Yakutia will be one of these pilot sites.
Addressing the participants of the conference, the President of Yakutia Egor Borisov said that it was the first time that the issues of road construction were considered in Yakutsk at such a high level. According to him, in general, the development of transport complex of the Republic was now receiving much attention. In the last five years about 92 billion rubles were allocated from the federal and the Republic’s budgets and other sources including the increased funding of the road sector.
Furthermore, the president made a special emphasis on the need to consider the specific features of the northern region and detailed some of the most important tasks. First of all, he named natural, climatic and geographical factors to be considered in the design of roads, bridges, and the fact that a large number of transportation routes in the Republic are operated at low temperatures, including winter roads and ice crossings should be taken into account as well.