Managing ice bridges

Roads in Russia is the typical subject for jokes. Since the country is big and the population is spread unequally there are many white spaces between cities and villages, hundreds and thousands kilometers of roads without anyone living around.  Add to that our climate and puzzle will be solved.

That’s why we got used to using some unique ways to improve the connectivity.  One of them is winter roads and bridges.

Bridges is a hard thing to manage in our climate. We have a few factors those make this task harder.
Those are:
– Ice movement in spring, when a huge ice plates can destroy anything on their way
– Water overflows, when snow is melting the river stream can have hundred times more water than usual.

Mostly those troubles happen in spring, and we found a way to avoid them:  seasonal bridges. The bridges that exist only in winter.

When the temperature is bellow zero, the water turns into ice easily. And ice is a good material for construction if you know what are you doing.

A specialized car is able to build a bridge from nothing just in a few days.
It takes water from the river and spread it in the tiny drips into the air under a future bridge. Because of physics the tiny amount of water turns into ice almost immediately, and when they fall on the surface them meld together.

Depending on the needs this car can freeze as much ice as it needed for bridge capacity.

It’s cheap: you don’t need to transfer any materials, the main component (water) is already in the place.
It’s efficient: 70 cm of ice can carry a 60 tons car, and when it’s -15 outside you need only 50 minutes for each centimeter of new ice.
Thus you need about 60 hours to make a bridge which can serve for 6-8 months.

It’s a good technology but it has some cons.
It forces people to do some planning. If some regions accessible for trucks only in the winter period, we have to manage that properly and accumulate all that we need in the stores before summer will come. We call it “winter delivery” and got used to that.
Another cons is that in Spring, the massive amount of ice is dangerous for objects which are located downstream.
That’s why we need to destroy all those bridges on our own before ice will go.

If the bridge is small the road workers can do the markup with chainsaws and then ice will be broken on small parts with those line, but if the bridge is big it’s much easier to blast it.

Being broken to the small participles the ice is not dangerous for anything and will melt soon.



    1. Snow is not a problem, not a special problem at least, Vasanth.

      The snow is falling all the surfaces in the country and we got used to clear it with special cars.

    1. We have to start slowly from the bank where water is shallow. That spread ice meld layer by layer and form the surface. Then car can move to this ice and continue the process. The same process is going in the nature without people.

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