During his working visit to Crimea, the Russian President inspected the biggest infrastructure projects, met with members of the public and attended a rally in Sevastopol.
The Crimean Bridge will be open for road traffic by the summer
Vladimir Putin began his Crimean visit by inspecting construction of the Crimean Bridge. The Russian President praised the work that had been done. “This project was attempted back in imperial times but World War I put an end to even the design work. Another failed attempt was made in the 1930s and later there was another one but now you have succeeded”, the President stressed, as he congratulated construction workers on their achievements.
In his assessment, the Crimean Bridge “is a unique structure, and not only for Russia”. “I hope you will finish construction not only on schedule but maybe even ahead of it”, Vladimir Putin said, remarking at the same time that the quality of the work must not be sacrificed. The President said he would like people to be able to use this bridge by this summer. “Of course, I would like people to be able use it this summer season”, the Head of State noted.
Arkady Rotenberg, head of Stroygazmontazh, the project’s general contractor, said that the section of the Crimean Bridge intended for road traffic might open this spring. “The highway should open in December 2018 but it will be ready in May”, Rotenberg reported to Vladimir Putin. Speaking to the press, Mr Rotenberg said the road section of the bridge might be opened after 9 May.
Sergey Aksyonov, Head of the Republic of Crimea, expressed his hope that, once the Crimean Bridge opens, the tourist flow to Crimea would increase from the current 5.6–6 million to 8–10 million a year. “The tourist flow might increase to 8–10 million a year. Then it will be much easier for us to resolve the Republic’s socioeconomic issues”, the Head of the Republic said, adding that the role of this infrastructure project in Crimea’s economic development could not be exaggerated.
Maxim Sokolov, Russia’s Minister of Transport, said that the construction of the road traffic section of the bridge was on the home stretch. “The main construction of the road traffic section has been fully completed; the bottom and top tarmac layers are 70% ready; currently, installation of lighting poles and guard rails is being completed”, the Minister said. “It is quite obvious that the road traffic section of the Crimean Bridge will soon be ready to open.”
Maxim Sokolov also said that two lanes of the Tavrida highway between Kerch and Simferopol would be completely ready by the end of the year. “By the end of 2018, the lanes will have been reconstructed as far as Simferopol and the contractor will start work on building and reconstructing the remaining lanes”, the Minister reported to the President; Mr Sokolov also said it was planned to complete the project, including the Sevastopol stretch, by 2020.
The new airport terminal in Simferopol
After the bridge, the President inspected the new terminal at Simferopol airport. The investment agreement on building the terminal was signed in 2016 at the Yalta International Economic Forum. Investment in the project has totalled RUB 32 bn, this being the biggest investment project in Crimea with private financing. The Republic was responsible for 49% and the rest was financed by a pool of investors.
At the ground floor of the new airport terminal, the Head of State saw the check-in facilities with a “Green Wall” measuring 1,600 sq.m. It is Europe’s largest interior wall made of plants and consists of two sections: a natural one (5 metres high) and an artificial one (10 metres high); the wall is 110 metres wide.
The President saw the miniature model of the entire terminal and heard the report on the facility’s construction, which took only 22 months. Igor Naboichenko, head of Akons Pro, the general contractor, said that only two years ago, the current site of the airport terminal located 14 km from Simferopol and 5 km from the existing terminal was a poppy field. Evgeny Plaksin, General Director of the airport, said that the new terminal was set to open by the May holidays.
Vladimir Putin proceeded to the baggage sorting area featuring a baggage handling system fully designed and built in Russia, the first such system since 1991. While the Head of State was surveying the terminal, he was informed about the tourist infrastructure created on the site; in the jet bridge area, he was also informed about construction of the airport aprons.
The new terminal was designed by one of the world’s leading architectural companies, South Korea’s Samoo Architects & Engineers. It has a capacity of seven million passengers a year, which may be increased to ten million. The designers were guided by the image of the sea and they called their project “The Crimean Wave.” The work on the terminal is slated to reach completion by the summer season of 2018.
Crimean TPS to be put into operation in late May
The first power units of the Simferopol (Tavricheskaya) and Sevastopol (Balaklavskaya) TPS, with a capacity of 470 MW, will be put in operation in late May, Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy, reported to the Russian President.
“The first launches of the first stage, one unit each in Sevastopol and Simferopol, are scheduled for late May. Each unit has a capacity of 235 MW”, Alexander Novak said. “On the whole, we will complete the construction of the second launch stations during 2018. We schedule June for Sevastopol and sometime after June for Simferopol”, the Minister said, noting that launch of the second stage was not critical, since it would be preceded by that of principal power generation.
Commissioning operations included first ignition of the turbine at the first power unit of Tavricheskaya TPS in Simferopol. The equipment was brought to idling at up to 3000 rpm. The operations included testing the control systems in transient state and confirmed the turbine’s vibration behaviour complied with the technical specifications. Testing showed that the turbine and the auxiliary systems were ready for operation, for further testing and for connection to the grid.
The stations will be powered by gas from Chernomorneftegaz SUE. Liquid fuels are considered as reserve ones.
Cultural centre in Sevastopol
In Sevastopol, the Russian President visited the reconstructed Konstantinovskaya Artillery Battery, where he met with local people. The Head of State said that large, multi-purpose cultural centres featuring branches of Russia’s biggest museums and talent training facilities would be built in Sevastopol and other Russian cities.
“Such cities as Vladivostok, Kaliningrad and Sevastopol; plus, we should select a couple more places in Siberia where there are no such centres. The intention is to construct venues for musical theatres and exhibition halls for our leading museums, such as the Hermitage, the Russian museum and the Tretyakov Gallery. Taken together, these are large compounds. We will certainly plan and build them in Sevastopol, too”, Vladimir Putin said.
The Head of State also assured his audience that Sevastopol’s transport problems would be resolved, too, and its vehicle fleet would be bolstered with new cars. “We will develop that. As for the vehicle fleet, we will expand it with new cars”, the President said in response to a question from Sevastopol’s public on resolving the city’s transport problems.
Vladimir Putin noted that, so far, the city’s own capacities did not allow for fully-fledged transport development but that the problem could be resolved and the budget had major funds earmarked for developing the city. “This year, I think we have 10 billion earmarked for Sevastopol. On the whole, over 2018, 2019 and 2020, it’s more than 100 billion for Sevastopol alone”, the President stressed.
In conclusion of his working visit to Crimea, the Head of State spoke at a rally cum concert in Sevastopol celebrating the 4th anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Vladimir Putin thanked the people of Crimea for their decision at the 2014 referendum, which restored the historical justice violated in Soviet times.
“Four years ago, you made a historic decision. Owing to your decision, Sevastopol and Crimea came home; they were reunited with our homeland, with our mother Russia”, the President said. The Head of State also emphasised that, through their decision, “the people of Crimea restored historic justice that had been violated back in Soviet times when Crimea and Sevastopol had been illegally, in breach of even the Soviet legislation, severed from the Russian Federation, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.”