Japan and China have cornered the market in major cable-supported bridges in recent years. But now another East Asian rival is on the rise. South of the Russian port city of Vladivostok, the world’s longest cable-stayed span—at 1,104 meters—is due to start erection next April. Spanning the “eastern Bosphorus” waterway from the southern tip of the Nazimov Peninsula, the Russky Bridge is a key element in the work to prepare Russky Island to host the 2012 Asia-Pacific Summit, which will include U.S. and Canada government heads.

To feed traffic to the new crossing, work has advanced further on a second large bridge, with 737-m-long cable stayed span, across the peninsula’s “Golden Horn” sea inlet.

Moscow-based main contractor USK MOST OJSC started work on the Russky Bridge in late 2008. It plans to start erecting the main span next April, hoping to open the crossing the following year.

The bridge is designed by Omsk-based NPO Mestrovic, with support from JSC Institute Giprostroimost, St. Petersburg.

MOST is working for FGU DSD Vladivostok, a special federal agency charged with procuring infrastructure for the region. Created in 1991, MOST claims to have acquired bridge expertise from its founders, who had worked on numerous structures along the cross-Russia Baikal-Amur Railway project.

Extending nearly 1.9 kilometers, the Russky Bridge will incorporate two 320.9-m-tall A-shaped pylons. From nearly 200 m up the pylons, cables will fan down to support the 24-m-wide orthotropic steelwork deck.

On the peninsula side, the pylon has reached over 120 m, which is about one 4.5 m ahead of the self-climbing formwork of the opposite pylon, according to MOST.

At the same time, the first section of the main-span deck has been substantially completed , reports Gennady Shkuropatov, MOST’s deputy director at the Vladivostok office.

The contractor is having large deck fabrications made halfway across Russia at Omsk. Completed sections travel by train for assembly into 12-m-long deck sections at Vladivostok as well as at Nakhodka, a 110-km barge trip to the east.

At the site, the contractor will raise the boxes some 80 m to deck level, where they will be welded and bolted to previous sections and attached to the cables.

Paris-based Freyssinet International S.A. will supply and install the cable system under a subcontract signed with MOST this September. “We had been working with [MOST] for some time already,” says Jean-Daniel Lebon, who heads Freyssinet’s major projects unit covering Asia and the Middle East.

Using its monostrand system, the subcontractor will form each cable by installing individual wax-coated, seven-wire strands. The longest cable will reach 580 m and contain 85 strands. “Because of the scale of this project, we have to hoist the strands two at a time,” says Lebon.

The cables will be enclosed in high-density polyethylene sleeves, which will be textured for improved aerodynamic performance, adds Lebon. Some 2,800 km of strand will go into the Russky Bridge cables, he estimates.

Lebon expects cable installation to last six to seven months from next April. Two or three months of adjustments will follow. By then, the contractor will be well advanced on its other Vladivostok cable contract, for the Golden Horn crossing.

Due to open late next year, the 1,409-m-long bridge will cross the generally 2-km-wide Golden Horn inlet, which curves up the peninsula some seven km toward central Vladivostok. Institute Giprostroimost is the bridge’s designer. Pacific Bridge Building Company JSC, known by its Russian initial (TMK), is the bridge’s main contractor on this municipally funded project.

TMK is having the orthotropic steel main-span deck fabricated across Russia by the companies Kurganstalmost, Ulan-Udestalmost and Nachodka Marin Partners. JSC Ural steel, Novotroitsk, is supplying the 12,000 tonnes of main-deck steelwork, reports Igor Kolyushev, Giprostroimost’s project manager.

With sitework starting at the end of 2008, “pylons are completed [and] back spans are under construction,” notes Kolyushev. TMK signed up Freyssinet in November 2009 to handle the cable work.

“The first section of the main span will be lifted into place in the first quarter of 2011,” forecasts Kolyushev. “The main span will be completed in the third quarter.”