Spanish Accent of Moscow Metro

Specialists from Spain are invited to apply European technologies of underground construction in Moscow metro.
Moscow Government is carrying out a program of Moscow metro development — 79 new stations, 160 km of tunnels and 16 depots (9 of them are new ones) will be ready before 2020. An unprecedented pace of development required participation of all major construction companies of Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States, but that was not enough for the task. Moscow Government decided to allow participation of foreign specialists in competition for project and construction of new Moscow metro lines.
The Spanish company Bustren won the competition. Its experts took part in designing and construction of one of the most rapidly developed subway systems — Madrid Metro which was extended by 156 new stations and 200 km of tunnels within 12 years. Besides that Bustren took part in the construction of metro systems of Delhi, Mexico, Riyadh and Istanbul.
Spaniards suggest to use so called “Madrid method” of construction in Moscow Metro. That means they propose to build a single-track line and sub-surface stations with side platforms instead of two single-track tunnels and island stations. Their experience proved that this method of construction is much faster and cheaper. 
Most lines of Moscow Metro were built with two 6-meters tunnel boring machines which have to be dismantled before every station and then assembled again. Spanish method involves one-time assembling of 10 meters tunnel boring machine which can be dragged in transit through stations and continue tunneling. This method helps to make an efficient use of underground space as it needs a less operational area — it is very important in the setting of restrained urban  conditions and  allows  cutting costs for installation  of service lines. 
Bustren also plans to introduce the Cover & Cut method (or Top-Down method) to construction of Moscow Metro. The top-down construction method builds the permanent structure members of the basement and station structures along with the excavation from the top to the bottom. The top-down method is particularly suited to the construction of underground stations beneath busy roadways and provides significant savings on overall construction time. Before that sub-surface stations in Moscow were built with open cut method. Using it  a  trench  is  usually  closed  in  1-2 years  after  construction  of  basic  structure  of  a  station.
According to the Cut & Cover method side support walls and capping beams are constructed from ground level by slurry walling, or contiguous bored piling. Then a shallow excavation allows making the tunnel roof of precast beams or in situ concrete. The surface is then reinstated except for access openings. This allows early reinstatement of roadways, services and other surface features. Excavation then takes place under the permanent tunnel roof, and the base slab is constructed.
Moscow specialists showed cautious attitude to the ideas of Spanish colleagues. In the course of time Russian and Spanish architects found common ground. “We work hand-in-glove with our Spanish colleagues, they have strong experience and cutting-edge technologies but sometimes they lack flexibility to adapt for our special features whether it is local features of Moscow soil, special attitude of Moscovites to our Metro or strictness of public standards of underground construction,” said architect Alexander Vigdorov.
Spanish architects admit that working for Moscow Metro turned up to be not a very easy task. “The fact is that we see metro as a simple and convenient infrastructural function whereas Russians love it as a source of pride. It should be taken into account, otherwise there will be no cooperation on the project,” said architect from Bustren Jabier Fernandez Sanchez. “Russian architects show conservatism, they hardly accept some new ideas. I suppose this project is among the most complicated due to endless adjustments and approvals. But I have to say that it is at the same time one of the most interesting projects. We have fruitful cooperation with our Russian colleagues, and they definitely see that we respect the rich architect tradition of Moscow underground construction.”


Central Ring Road 
an urgent transport infrastructural project for Moscow region and Russia


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