11 Mitskevich str.
Another automobile bridge will be added to the existing three bridges over the Neman River in Grodno once a derelict railway bridge is converted into the automobile one. This project is unique in many respects not only for the city but the country as well, BelTA learned from Yaroslav Zhilinsky, Director of the Grodno branch of the bridge construction company OAO Mostostroi, one of the general contractors involved in the project.
The railway bridge was built about 40 years ago upon the initiative of the Belarusian army as a backup structure. The railway line leading to the bridge was disassembled over ten years ago. The bridge was abandoned for some time until the decision to convert it into an automobile bridge was made.
The reconstruction of this bridge represents an important stage in the construction of a large bypass ring road around Grodno. The renewed bridge will be about 240m long. Its width will be considerably larger – 17.5m. The project provides for building two traffic lanes for each direction in addition to broad sidewalks and a bicycle track. The bridge will tower about 32m above the surface of the Neman River: an 11-story house could fit the space below the bridge.
Yaroslav Zhilinsky stressed that the reconstruction of the existing bridge will allow saving one third of the money in comparison with building a new bridge from scratch. "The pillars may cost as much as 60% of a new bridge. Here we are going to use seven out of the nine existing pillars. They remain capable of carrying the load. Then again, the pillars will be reinforced," he said. Additional metal props will be erected next to the pillars on the river banks to increase their carrying capacity. The pillars in the river will be wrapped in metal, too. The bridge span structures will be metallic as well.
It is an interesting project from many other perspectives. In essence the team will have to nearly build a new bridge relying on the old pillars and dismantle the old spans after that. Dismantling the span in the center of the bridge above the river seems to be the most difficult part since the structure is over 65m long and weighs 200 tonnes. "Active work is already in progress. Old components are being dismantled. Preparations for new construction are underway. We have the necessary machines and vehicles, specialists, and materials. The standard construction time is 23 months, however, we are intent on accomplishing it faster than that," Yaroslav Zhilinsky noted.
The construction of the new city main is divided into several stages. The road to the bridge on the left bank of the Neman River will begin in the bedroom community of Vishnevets. On the right bank of the river the new road will have to reach the M6 motorway. A modern two-level interchange will be built at the junction. The preliminary cost of the project is estimated at about Br70 million. The new road will be able to greatly reduce traffic in other streets and the other three bridges over the Neman River.