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Sakhalin Bridge is now "built" from Khabarovsk
The large-scale project did not leave the agenda - it just grew up a bit in price and changes the justification
In early May, news came about the “project of the century” - the construction of a bridge from the mainland to Sakhalin. The Khabarovsk Territory was quietly visited by top managers of Russian Railways and held a meeting at which they discussed a project to build the Selikhin-Nysh railway line with the crossing of the Nevelsky Strait. There is no news on the official website of the regional government about the work of the delegation and the meeting held. Moreover, there is no clarity whether the project will be implemented or whether all initiatives will remain on paper.
According to the report of the Director General of the Institute “Dalgiprotrans” Alexey Lobov (available at EastRussia), this organization took up the pre-project study of the railway line from Selikhin station in the Khabarovsk region to Nysh station on Sakhalin with the construction of a bridge across the Nevelsky Strait. In accordance with the document, the railway will have to pass through the territory of three districts of the Khabarovsk Territory: Komsomolsky, Nikolaevsky and Ulchsky, as well as four areas on Sakhalin: Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinsky, Nogliksky, Okhinsky and Tymovsky. The total length of the road will be 585 km. To begin its design on the terms of reference should be in the 2021 year, and complete - in the 2024 year. During this time, it is necessary to choose a railway line option, develop a territory planning project, prepare proposals for terms and stages of construction, and, most importantly, justify financing limits.
The authors of the idea of building a transition to Sakhalin argue that it will increase the volume of freight. In order for it to grow to 9,2 million tons of cargo, you need to build 20 separate points, including four reference points in settlements Yagodny, Tsimmermanovka, DeKastri and Lazarev, as well as 623 man-made structures, including 35 large bridges.
For the construction of a bridge directly across the Nevelsky Strait, it is planned to use the existing roads and make temporary ones. The results of the surveys showed that large-tonnage equipment will not be able to drive along the Selikhino-Nikolaevsk-on-Amur road due to restrictions on the loads and narrowed land area. We will have to build temporary road roads and spend 7,67 billion rubles on them. At the same time, it will not even be possible to count on money from the federal budget - this is the position of the Ministry of Finance of Russia.
After the completion of construction, the roads are re-cultivated, since there will be no need for them anymore. However, the authorities of the Khabarovsk Territory do not agree with this state of affairs and believe that these routes will be useful for local residents. Moreover, Railways has already proposed to design and build a road from De-Kastri to Cape Lazarev on the principles of consolidated funding. True, there is no money in the regional treasury for such a joint project, so the question hung in the air.
Centuries of cargo for the construction of the century propose to haul from Khabarovsk to Komsomolsk, then transfer it to river vessels, and then deliver it to Zimmermanovka, Lazarev and Pogibi. Another option is delivery to Vanino, then transportation by sea to construction sites. Another option is delivery to Vanino, then transportation by ferry to Kholmsk, and then, on the Sakhalin roads - to Pogibi.
Additional costs will also appear on the connection of the railway line to the power grid. In Berry, Zimmerman, and De-Kastri will have to install independent sources of generation - gas microturbine power plants. One more strong point - Lazarev - eats from the isolated Nikolaev combined heat and power plant. On the island part of the road, the source of power supply will be the longitudinal overhead line 110 kV.
Thus, the large-scale “project of the century” for the construction of a bridge from the mainland to Sakhalin continues to take contours, and its cost continues to grow - the budget will become larger due to the need to build access roads, related infrastructure, as well as due to connection to electric networks. The approximate cost of the transition is already about 540 billion rubles, but there is still no clarity on the sources of funding (and therefore on whether the project will be implemented).
Last fall, the construction of a bridge to Sakhalin was included in a comprehensive plan for the modernization and expansion of the trunk infrastructure of Russia. To complete the final calculations and fill it with freight, you need to find additional sources of funding. Later it was reported that the Russian Railways refused to build transport transition to Sakhalin at their own expense - the company is ready to give only 3,5 billion rubles for the preparation of a feasibility study. The remaining money - 536,8 billion rubles - was proposed to be invested by private investors. Russian Railways said that the company did not abandon the construction of the transition to Sakhalin, the issue of financing remains open, and the final decision must be made by the shareholder of Russian Railways - the Russian government.
EastRussia has already written that, according to experts, in terms of cargo traffic to and from the island the bridge will never pay offconsidering its colossal value. The fact that the construction of a bridge to Sakhalin from mainland Russia economically unprofitable, said Russia's first deputy prime minister, finance minister Anton Siluanov. The arguments in favor of the bridge are the reduction in the cost of cargo delivery to Sakhalin, the access from BAM to the non-freezing ports of the Sakhalin region, and the fact that as a result of these two factors, it is not necessary to invest almost 200 billion in the construction of new ferries and development railway infrastructure of the south of Primorye. True, these arguments turned out to be rather weak: the ferries are already under construction, and the railway infrastructure of the southern Primorye is being modernized as part of another large-scale project - the international transport corridors Primorye-1 and Primorye-2, aimed at a completely different cargo base.
Experts interviewed by EastRussia cite two groups as the main stakeholders in building the bridge. First of all, these are builders: ostensibly to the East they can transfer the capacities released after the construction of the Crimean bridge. Unique competences have been accumulated, a powerful technological base has been formed - now it must be used on projects comparable in scale to the Crimean one. Secondly, it is the Russian coal business and its partners in the field of port logistics. It is coal that can become the main commodity that fills the bridge - due to the obvious shortage of capacity for transshipment with this raw material, almost all the major ports from Vanino to Vladivostok are literally inundated. For the time being, the North Korean port of Rajin (the port itself and the road to it were reconstructed at the expense of the Russian side) was used as a logistical leverage for exporting coal in the interests of the Russian Railways’s subsidiary, Rasoncontrans. However, today, according to EastRussia, the port of Rajin is not handling Russian coal.
The most active issue of building a bridge to Sakhalin was discussed on the eve of the Eastern Economic Forum - 2018. Within the framework of the “Street of the Far East” exposition, the Sakhalin region even built a model of the future bridge, and the voice of the announcer regularly announced boarding on trains from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Moscow and other cities. The atmosphere of the forum literally soared the expectation that the president would mention the draft of the bridge in his speech and give some instructions for it, but the mention was not in the speech itself, but in the discussion afterwards, and not in an affirmative, but rather in a rhetorical form and no specific instructions were given. Moreover, a week after the forum ARTICLES “Vedomosti”, referring to two federal officials, top managers of three coal companies and one expert, speaks about the apparent inadequacy of the cargo base, as well as outright doubts about the project of such reputable managers as infrastructure supervisor Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov and presidential aide Andrei Belousov .
As a result, the bridge to Sakhalin rapidly began to disappear from the information agenda. So, for example, on the official portal of the Sakhalin Oblast Government from October last year to this day there is not a single mention of the bridge. At the same time, the ongoing work to justify the construction of a railway crossing from the mainland to Sakhalin, as well as sufficiently detailed information on exactly how the road will go along the Khabarovsk Territory, where the strong points are planned. This time, the stakes are on the social effect for the eastern part of the Khabarovsk Territory, since the mainland part of the construction site together with the bridge, according to modest estimates, will amount to 80% of the total project budget. In fact, we can talk about a kind of transfer of the “flag” of the project from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Khabarovsk. Moreover, earlier the Khabarovsk Territory had already announced a major infrastructure project for the construction of a new branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway to the Tatar Strait with the creation of a port at the mouth of the Samarga river. The rhetoric on this proposal dried up completely, the experts of the project “buried”, however, it seems that ambitions to intercept part of the cargo base heading through the Khabarovsk Territory to the ports of Primorye remained.
If this assumption is correct, we can expect a series of inspection trips of officials "to the fields" of the Khabarovsk Territory, as well as the inclusion of the construction of a bridge to Sakhalin in the National Program for the Development of the Far East, which the Ministry of Eastern Development will present to the President at WEF-2019. The answer is likely to be in September.