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The exposition consists of two parts and tells about the history of the construction of the bridge, the first overhaul in 80 years and new technologies that were used during the reconstruction.

An exhibition dedicated to the history and overhaul of the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge has opened in the courtyard of the Museum of Moscow. It will run until November 14th. The exposition consists of two parts, admission to the exhibition is free.

The first part introduces the history of the building. Visitors will see watercolors and autolithographs by Apollinarius Vasnetsov, engravings by the Dutchman Peter Picart, drawings by Sergei Gerasimov and other artists, and learn how the wooden ferry has become one of the city’s main engineering structures.

“The second part -“ Reconstruction ”- will tell how the first overhaul of the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge in more than 80 years took place, what technologies were used in the work, how the builders coped with difficult weather conditions and what made it possible to complete the repairs almost six months ahead of schedule. In addition, visitors will be able to see the metal structure dismantled during the repair, which, presumably, was damaged by numerous fragments of a high-explosive bomb dropped during the bombing of Moscow in 1941-1942, ”said the Moscow city complex.

The work was supervised by the Department of Cultural Heritage of the city of Moscow.

History of the Big Stone Bridge

According to some testimonies, the bridge “was revered as one of the capital’s wonders along with the bell tower of Ivan the Great, the Sukharev Tower, the Tsar Bell, the Tsar Cannon.” Now, without it, it is impossible to imagine some of the most popular views of the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Bersenevskaya, Prechistenskaya and Sofia embankments.

The predecessor of the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge was the All Saints Stone Bridge, built in 1692 under Peter I. The amount that had to be paid for it was so enormous that since then Muscovites have had the saying “More expensive than a stone bridge”. In 1859, due to dilapidation, the bridge was dismantled and replaced with another one – all-metal on stone supports and with cast-iron trusses. This was the first three-span metal bridge in Moscow, which the townspeople, out of old habit, continued to call the stone bridge.

The modern Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge across the Moskva River was built in 1938 by architects Vladimir Shchuko, Vladimir Gelfreich and Mikhail Minkus. It is a single-span arched bridge on steel structures. April 4, 2014 Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscowrecognized Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge as a cultural heritage site of regional significance.

Repairs in record time

The project for the overhaul of the Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge was developed in 2019, and already in July 2020, work began, which was completed on August 16, 2021. Major repairs have not been carried out since the moment of construction, and during this time cracks appeared, supports deteriorated, expansion joints and granite cladding collapsed in some places. According to experts, some elements were in a pre-emergency state – their durability resource was no more than two to three years. During the surveys, a decrease in the actual carrying capacity of the structure was recorded.

In a record 14 months, the bridge was actually rebuilt. At the same time, at no stage of work was it completely closed and continued to perform a transport function. While one half of the bridge was closed for repairs, the other remained open to pedestrians and vehicles, including public ones. During the work, two lanes were kept in each direction.

Specialists of the Moscow city economy complex replaced inoperable metal structures, reinforced concrete floors, utilities, reworked storm sewers, outdoor lighting, architectural and artistic lighting and navigational signaling, renewed the roadway, restored granite cladding and cast-iron fences.

Some of the work was carried out from the water. Scaffolding was installed on barges and pontoons to make it easier for workers to reach hard-to-reach areas of the channel span. This is how the channel metal structures, granite cladding, architectural and artistic lighting were updated, and the navigation signaling was installed.

The overhaul of one of the main transport arteries of the capital did not stop for a minute – they worked in snowfalls, and in abnormal frosts, and in extreme heat. This made it possible to complete the repairs ahead of schedule by almost six months. In the cold, specialists worked in special technological shelters, which saved from precipitation and created the microclimate necessary for the comfort of people and the work of equipment. All concrete works were carried out in such tents from October to April. In the summer heat, it was necessary to install waterproofing on the second half of the bridge. When carrying out this work, it was important to uniformly heat the waterproofing coating so that it fits as tightly as possible to the canvas. This will protect the supporting structures from moisture and extend their service life. To protect the health of specialists, waterproofing works were carried out only in the early morning or late evening.

Innovative developments helped speed up the renovation. Manual jackhammers have been replaced by small robots. Three such devices with hydraulic hammers helped to dismantle the reinforced concrete pavement, including in hard-to-reach areas, for example, on river supports. Robots can be controlled with a remote control up to 15 meters away. During a shift, one machine removes about 15 cubic meters of reinforced concrete (for comparison: a worker with a jackhammer can handle only one cubic meter in the same time).

During the pre-design survey of the bridge, an interesting find was made – evidence of the Great Patriotic War. Presumably, during the bombing of Moscow in 1941-1942, a dropped high-explosive bomb weighing about 50 kilograms pierced the roadway slab and exploded in the extreme arch of the bridge. The metal parts were damaged by numerous fragments. During the overhaul, the damaged structures were replaced.

What became the Big Stone Bridge

The specialists also recreated and restored granite cladding (6.5 thousand square meters), railings (1.74 thousand square meters), stained-glass windows (357 square meters) and external doorways (126 square meters). In addition, the builders dismantled and replaced the reinforced concrete structures of the bridge superstructure, laid asphalt and waterproofed the roadway, approaches and sidewalks on an area of ​​over 17.8 thousand square meters, and rebuilt the heating network.

In addition, the following works were carried out:

– repair of concrete surfaces of the bridge (33.8 thousand square meters);

– replacement of metal structures (total weight – 92 tons);

– painting of metal structures and concrete (72 thousand square meters);

– concreting of structures (7.3 thousand cubic meters);

– installation of a barrier fence made of granite blocks (960 running meters);

– reconstruction of outdoor lighting, architectural lighting and navigation signaling;

– reconstruction of storm sewers.

Modernization and restoration: how the Bolshoi Kamenny bridge was repaired

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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