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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 city’s naval suburb of Kronshtadt on Kotlin Island, is designed to hold at bay water levels rising up to 5 meters.

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

“It’s 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 city’s 140-kilometer Ring Road.

The construction of the FPC was one of the city’s 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 city’s 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 dam’s 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 in Russia 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 dam’s 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 world’s biggest flood defense construction in the Netherlands. London’s dam, built in 1984, cost $2.5 billion, Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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