VLADIVOSTOK, December 14 (Itar-Tass) – The fire at the bridge over the Zolotoi Rog (Golden Horn) Bay in Vladivostok has been completely extinguished. On Wednesday morning, fire fighters completed liquidation of the smouldering pockets left the emergency scene, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations’ (EMERCOM) main department for the Primorsky Territory told Itar-Tass.
The fire at the bridge that is under construction in the centre of Vladivostok started on Monday evening. Wood shuttering of the concrete span on the 12th pillar of the bridge trestlework on the southern shore of the bay on the Churkin Peninsula at a height of 64 metres was ablaze. The total area of ··the fire reached 500 square metres. A large team was involved in the extinguishing efforts: 105 specialists and 25 vehicles. Fire fighting squads were all the time watering the roofs of nearby houses and warehouses to protect them against falling burning parts of the shuttering.
The fire was localized only by the middle of the night Tuesday, and watering of the structures and liquidation of smouldering pockets continued for another day. According to official data, nobody has been injured. The fire has also not damaged the main structures of the bridge and its cable-stayed system.
The fire liquidation efforts have affected the transport situation on the Churkin Peninsula and the work of some companies. After the fire many roads were frozen and traffic in a number of streets was blocked.
The bridge over the Zolotoi Rog Bay is one of the facilities that will be commissioned in Vladivostok for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s summit the city will host in 2012. The construction will become part of a new transport system of the regional centre of the Primorsky Territory and will link Vladivostok’s centre with the city’s Pervomaisky district on the Churkin Peninsula.
At present, the construction of the bridge is entering its final stage. In February, the builders are going to make the connection of the main span and finish pulling the cable stays. It is planned to open the bridge for traffic in summer 2012.
Police are currently probing into the fire incident. Several versions, including violation of fire safety rules during welding operations, are under consideration.
Vladivostok is the administrative centre of Russia’s Primorsky Territory, Russia, situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia’s borders with China and North Korea. The population of the city, according to the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, is 592,069, down from 594,701 recorded in the 2002 Census. The city is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet and the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean.
In 2012, Vladivostok will host the 24th APEC Summit. In preparation for the event, the infrastructure of the city is being renovated and improved. Two giant cable-stayed bridges are currently under construction in Vladivostok – the Zolotoi Rog bridge over the Zolotoi Rog Bay in the centre of the city, and the Russky Island Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island, where the summit will take place. The latter bridge will become the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world upon completion.
The proposal put forward for Russia to hold the 2012 summit on Russky Island, which was a closed military zone during the Soviet-era, was confirmed at the end of the APEC Australia 2007 summit in Sydney, Australia. At a press conference in Sydney, Sergey Darkin, the governor of the Primorsky Territory, estimated the cost of hosting the summit at 147.5 billion roubles, 50 percent more than previous estimates. The construction of infrastructure serving the summit, by Darkin experts’ estimates, would aid the economic development of the Russian Far East and would see more than a six-fold increase of the Gross Regional Product of the Primorsky Territory by 2020.