Cause of Crimean fatal road failure to be disclosed in a month

Engineers have said they need a month in order to determine the cause of a road construction failure which caused a fatal crash in Crimea.

Six out of the eight occupants of a car which hurtled into a chasm that appeared in a newly constructed bypass in Crimea died in the early hours of Sunday morning, two of whom were children, according to local authorities reporting on the aftermath of a crash which occurred as a result of a serious and sudden road failure.

The 8 metre wide by 6 metre deep chasm appeared on the main Evpatoriya-Nikolayevsk highway as it bypasses Simferopol and passes over a railway underpass which was disused due to repairs taking place. The subsidence resulted in the railway underpass becoming blocked with earth.

One of the most expensive infrastructure construction projects in the region in recent years, the highway was recently constructed by Yuzhdorstroy, a company which is alleged by local news sources to be connected with a prominent member of the Crimean Parliament. Now, the cause of the road failure is under investigation led by the Acting Minister of Transport of Crimea, Anatoliy Tsurkin.

However, it isn’t expected that results of the investigation will be forthcoming very quickly in the troubled region and Anatoliy Tsurkin predicts that they are likely to be revealed only after a month. The Acting Minister has drafted in experts from Russia to carry out a “comprehensive and independent investigation”.

Road construction projects throughout the CIS including Russia, Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries are often blighted by problems of design, construction quality, materials, corruption and cost skimming which result in poor quality road surfaces, poor durability of road markings, lack of finishing details and the rapid formation of pot-holes. Serious construction failures such as the one in Crimea do occur but are rare.

Placing responsibilities into convenient “siloes” is also an issue in the region with frequent difficulties associated with attributing accountability to one particular person or organization. In this case, the general contractor was Yuzhdorstroy but other companies are involved including Krymavtodor, which is responsible for highway maintenance. The investigation is taking place with the participation of Rosdortekhnologiya  and Rosavtodor from Russia. The Crimean Krymgiprodor Institute had already predicted problems with the road and are also involved in the investigation.

The road has now been closed for repairs and is expected to be re-opened only within three-four months.

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Road Construction

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