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Dam Complex Complete At Last

Published: August 17, 2011 (Issue # 1670)



  • City Governor Valentina Matviyenko, left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the opening of the new $3.6 billion dam.
    Photo: ALEXEI DRUZHININ / RIA-NOVOSTI / The Associated Press

St. Petersburg is finally protected from potentially devastating flooding after the St. Petersburg Flood Protection Complex (FPC) was officially completed Friday.

The complex, located between the village of Gorskaya and the citys naval suburb of Kronshtadt on Kotlin Island, is designed tohold atbay water levels rising up to5 meters.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who took part in the opening ceremony, said the construction was worthy of St. Petersburg.

Its a grandiose construction. There is some technological beauty in it, Putin was cited by Interfax as saying.

The opening of the dam was timed to coincide with the launch of a tunnel running underneath a new shipping canal to connect Kotlin Island and the southern and northern parts of the city. The six-lane tunnel is both a part of the dam complex, and the final part of the citys 140-kilometer Ring Road.

The construction of the FPC was one of the citys biggest and most complex projects, and regularly faced financial problems and ecological scandals.

St. Petersburg has been hit by more than 300 floods in the citys 308-year history. It was a flood in 1955 that pushed the Soviet government to consider protecting the city with a dam.

Construction finally began in late 1979. The plan was to build a 25-kilometer dam complex that would curve around the Neva Bay to protect the city from the gulf beyond, but it was halted in the late 1980s because of ecological worries and a lack of funds.

In 2001, the Dutch government and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development sponsored initial research into the possibility of reviving the plans for the dams construction. Construction work resumed in 2005.

The protection barrier can close within thirty minutes of an alarm signal. Meteorologists warn of a possible flood 48 hours and then 24 hours beforehand. Meteorologists and dam workers keep a close eye on the water level in the final 24 hours, and if it looks set to rise 1.6 meters above the norm, the dam is closed.

The complex includes 11 dams, sluices that allow gulf water to go back and forth in measured quantities, two ship-passing facilities that also work as flood gates and a six-lane automobile road with bridges, a tunnel and transport interchanges.

Experts say completion of the barrier will save the city substantial sums of money.

Alexander Boutovsky, senior consultant and business development director for the Coastal and Rivers Division inRussia for the Dutch company of Royal Haskoning, said last year that the dam saves the city more than $100 million every year in potential flood damages. Haskoning provided engineering and consultancy services for almost a decade on the flood protection complex.

Concerns about environmental damage to the fragile ecology of the Neva delta had to be taken into account during the dams construction. There was also the significant problem of unexploded World War II mines in the area.

The project cost $3.6 billion in total, Interfax reported approximately as much as the worlds biggest flood defense construction in the Netherlands. Londons dam, built in 1984, cost $2.5 billion, Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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