Sergey Zhukov: Learn new things and implement them if necessary

28 February 2018

Sergey Zhukov, the general director of one of the oldest Russian institutions, Mosmetrostroy (Moscow Metro Construction), the founder of metro construction field in our country. In his work, he strictly adheres to the principle “Learn new things and implement them if necessary.”

In an interview with Sergey, we tried to find out what helps Mosmetrostroy to be a leader for 86 years, what projects are being implemented today and why it is so important to develop international partnership.

– Sergey, what stages of metro construction development would you single out?

– The role of metro construction in Russia simply cannot be overestimated. The very decision to create the metro was evidence that the country was trying to keep up with technological progress. First of all, we focused on the experience of foreign colleagues. Personally, I would single out several important stages in the development of domestic metro construction. The first is the beginning itself. The new mode of transportation became an extremely important factor, because it brought on the opening of our joint-stock company, predetermined the traffic vector of all urban public transport for many decades. The record pace of construction is still difficult to surpass. Even though the technologies and requirements were different, they were less progressive. The construction of the metro played a great role in the Great Patriotic War. Despite the large-scale destruction, the works did not stop, metro construction workers made an invaluable contribution to the Victory. Just think of it: 53 metro constructors are Heroes of the Soviet Union, among them the two-time hero Alexey Ryazanov - the legendary fighter pilot, participated in 90 battles and personally destroyed 31 enemy aircrafts. In the post-war years the metro builders not only extended and laid new lines of the Moscow metro but were also sent to all countries of the former Soviet Union for restoration work. The beginning of the nineties brought great changes to Russia, for which most of us were not ready. The sharp reduction in the volume of construction and the conceptual change in the entrepreneurial activity caused the problems of the organization to be resolved to this day. In addition, until 2010, the financing of the transport industry often worked on the residual principle, the situation changed with the arrival of the new government and a radical revision of the transport infrastructure development program, and a new stage in the metro construction began.

– How did Mosmetrostroy keep its leadership position?

– I think that this is partly due to the fact that we set much higher goals than just profit. The determinant in the work is “for the greater good”. For modern market conditions, this is not the most profitable model, but also Mosmetrostroy is far from being an ordinary company, it really is a separate story, a sort of an experienced institution, in which people create new methods and technologies in the metro-building industry. We are unconditional leaders in the underground development, no other company can compete with us today in the skills of laying tunnels of deep foundations and expertise of Moscow soil.

– Moscow has resumed the practice of architectural competitions, and the projects have really turned out to be unique in terms of architecture and design. But are they more difficult to implement, and how much longer is the construction period for the competitive project compared to the typical stations.

– The duration of the construction of individual facilities depends on many factors: on the capacity of the company, on unforeseen circumstances, for example, groundwater lies closer to the surface than as per the expert evaluation. To fix this situation, additional time may be required. It also happens that the completion of the project is delayed, as the contractor eliminates minor defects in order to obtain the permission to commission. Often, design decisions change during implementation, but this is often done from functional considerations and requirements for the safety of passengers, again with minimal losses in terms of architectural and artistic solutions. In general, the resumption of competitions provides an opportunity to choose among the best and to find original approaches in the design of metro stations, which due to their exceptionality have become the landmark of the country.

– Is there progress at Rzhevskaya and Sheremetyevskaya stations? Did the metro builders face any difficulties in the construction?

– Difficulties in the construction of deep-lying stations are associated with watered and unstable rocks. Therefore, before the main works began, we froze the soils along the contour of the future escalator tunnel of Sheremetyevskaya to develop it with the help of a tubing stacker. In total, 185 rings are to be mounted, about 139 meters. The design of the station allows for a pylon at a depth of 80 meters with three arches and an island-type platform. The only hall will be located in the park between the 4th and the 5th thoroughfares of Maryina Roshcha. In the opposite end of the central hall there will be a transfer to the station Maryina Roshcha of the Lublin-Dmitrovskaya line. For their connection, an approach tunnel is being built. Of the 954 projected meters 62 are left. I believe that after Park Pobedy this sloped tunnel, and the metro station itself will become one of the deepest in the capital. The construction site of the Rzhevskaya station is in the former Rizhskiy radio market. At this point, the underground path is laid for the construction of a transfer to the operating station Rizhskaya of the Kaluga-Rizhskaya line. The construction of the station complex will be made through a shaft currently being drilled with the help of a VSM-10000 system.

– How many tunnel-building shields are now involved in the construction of the Moscow metro? Where do you buy this equipment?

– At the facilities of the Mosmetrostroy, we currently deploy six tunneling machinery complexes. Traditionally, they all have female names: Natalia, Sofia, Liubov, Olga, Svetlana and Elena: the only machines in Russia with a hydroload. For many years we have been using the shields of the well-known and reliable German company Herrenknecht.

– At what stage is the construction of the second start-up section of the Lublin-Dmitrovskaya line?

– At the beginning of this year we had a technical launch of three stations of the line: Okruzhnaya, Verkhniye Likhobori and Seligerskaya. Now they are installing engineering communications and carry out finishing operations, the construction stage is over. Over the past twenty years, this site has become one of the most high-maintenance. The main difficulty we faced is the water inflow. At Verkhniye Likhobori it reached 450 cubic meters per hour. For comparison, a typical bath tub is approximately 0.6 to 0.7 cubic meters. It turns out, for 60 minutes in the station complex was poured about 600 baths. To control such pressure, we had to apply both the classical method of pumping, and the chemical solution, a two-component resin.

– In the past, Mosmetrostroy completed the tunnel for the high-speed railway Tel-Aviv - Jerusalem. Is cooperation between countries continuing now?

– Indeed, the project was successful. Currently, there are no contracts with Israel, but our international business portfolio is extending. Last year, we signed a subcontract for the construction of the Chortanovtsy tunnel in Serbia as part of the restoration, modernization and construction of the double-track railway Belgrade-Stara Pazova-Novi Sad-Subotica-State Border. This is the largest infrastructure project in Serbia, as a result of which passenger trains will be able to reach speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour. Tunnels will be built by mining. The negotiation about Mosmetrostroy’s participation in the construction of metro lines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh of the Vietnam is underway.

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