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Trans-Siberian Highway to compete with legendary railroad
26. October 2010

At the time when the last stretch of the M58 highway is completed, the Trans-Siberian Railway will lose its monopoly on linking the east of Russia with the rest of the country. Yet closing that gap in the road will add a new superlative: the Trans-Siberian Highway from Moscow to the Pacific coast is around 10,000 kilometres long. An Ammann plant is supplying the asphalt used in its construction.

 

The decision to link Russia’s Pacific region with the core national road network was taken during the Brezhnev years, back in 1966. The 2,000 kilometre long stretch of the M58 highway from Chita to Khabarovsk presented the biggest challenge: seasonal temperature swings up to 100°C and the building of 200 bridges in totally isolated areas give an idea of just how tough the requirements were. Although the highway was formally opened in 2004, the M58 still had one yawning gap.

Kilometre 6906 marks the station where Trans-Siberian trains halt at Mogocha, a small town with a population of 12,000 situated about 70 kilometres north of the M58 route. The highway construction site will swallow millions of tons of asphalt over the next two years – asphalt that is to be produced by a new Ammann JustBlack plant, assembled in the summer of 2010.

Even for hardboiled, experienced Ammann fitters and the support team, assembly conditions were extraordinary: no running water, no electricity, no mobile phone coverage. Despite such inclement circumstances, the new plant was producing asphalt just four weeks after the first components arrived. Around seven million residents of Russia’s Far East will have to keep waiting until 2011. But then, they will be able to traverse their home country on asphalt, too.