New terminal of Sochi International Airport, which was under re-construction for over a year now, or maybe even two years, is expected to start operating in test mode in February, and to open in March of 2010. The International sector is expected to handle 500 passengers / hour, and triple that during the Olympics.
Originally, when the building for this terminal was completed back in early 90’s, it was to be the domestic terminal, and the old (current) terminals, being much smaller were to be reconstructed to welcome international visitors. Now, it seems, they have different plans. I really hope this is not going to be terminal for international visitors only. Because Russian tourists, who visit this city in great numbers, who support it economically, who know and love the city, and who’s tax money are helping to bring the Olympics here, deserve comfort and convenience too.
Network of roads in the Olympic capital is 5 to 6 times smaller than Russian average – only 0.7 km per 1 sq km of territory. And only 25% of 2400 km or roads comply with modern safety requirements.
– Minister of Transportation of Russia
* Construction of the road parallel to the main – and the only – road through Sochi’s center – the Kurortny Avenue – has just been started. It is not the service road around the city. This road is one of the “Olympic” projects. The road will be 17 km long, 6 tunnels are planned (digging of the first starts in January), and total cost just under $1 bln. Estimated completion – year 2013.
* You can now enter center part of Adler from round-about near the rail-road crossing… under the rail-road! The railroad has been closed, at least for now.
This area has been under heavy construction since last summer, giving a lot of headache to local residents. But I hear some good feedback on this recent change from my friends.
* Joint Transportation Management Center Will Be Established in Sochi (source)
“The new structure will be formed on a basis of the Olympic Transport Board, will reflect the current road situation in real time and alert Sochi inhabitants to the existence and whereabouts of traffic jams.”
The information about traffic conditions has long been available to the drivers in some larger cities in Russia, like Moscow and St.-Petersnurg, via Yandex Traffic online & mobile services. Now similar service comes to Sochi, but it will only be useful if the road network will greatly increase.
Development, Russia November 2nd, 2009
There are a few things you need to know in order to understand importance of this piece of news:
- Main highway connecting Sochi to Moscow (or Moscow to Sochi, if you like) is federal highway M-4, aka «Don» highway
- «There are only two problems in Russia: fools and roads» – this common Russian saying should tell you something about the overall state of roads in Russia
- Recently, a law regulating pay roads in Russia has been passed, and State corporation established with intent to improve federal roads.
The «Don» highway crosses several regions in Russia: somewhere road pavement is good, somewhere it’s ok, but in Voronezh and Rostov regions it’s pretty bad. It’s so bad, in fact, that the part of the highway going through Rostov region is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the country (I’ll talk about this a little in one of the next posts). Several years ago, driving from St.-Petersburg to Sochi we witnessed five accidents with fatalities, four of which were on «Don», and all four between Voronezh and Rostov-on-Don. That’s only within two days. The latest trip I took on that road was this summer, in August, and it wasn’t that bad this time (no fatal accidents around, anyways), still the road is very bad in some regions.
One thing always surprises me on these trips, though, is Read the rest of this entry »
By the year 2010 approximately 1000 families will be relocated due to the Olympic construction development. Over 2500 hectares of land will be bought out from private owners for Olympic projects in Imeritinskaya Valley, Krasnaya Polyana, Vesyoloe village as well as Khosta and Central districts. Central district is affected by road infrastructure project.
– information from Vice Minister of Russia Dmitry Kozak via Interfax and Lenta.ru
“Yota” started testing its WiMAX network in Sochi. “Skartel” operator, owner of Yota brand, have launched WiMAX networks (IEEE 802.16-2005, 2.5-2.7 GHz) earlier this year in Moscow and St.-Petersburg (where they now cover up to 70% of city), and in Ufa in the beginning of this month.
The beginning of beta testing in Sochi and Krasnodar was announced two weeks ago. Yota selected 250 testers in Sochi, and 350 people in Krasondar – the capital of region where Sochi is located. Network coverage in Sochi is already available on Yota’s website, and according to it they currently cover only most of Central district and center of Adler.
So, soon Sochi will join very small number of cities in Russia where hi-speed wireless internet is available.
Btw, WiMAX Forum – Russia will take place in Moscow next month.
Development, Olympics 2014 September 30th, 2009
The global design practice Populous is delighted to announce today that it has been selected by the State Corporation ‘Olympstroy’ to design the main stadium for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Populous has also designed the master plan and overlay plan for competition and non-competition venues and facilities, and now adds designing the main 40,000 seat stadium to their expanding role on the 2014 Games. Populous is joined in the design consortium by Russian contractor Engeocom, and Botta Management.
“The main stadium design, in addition to the venue overlay plan we have prepared for the 2014 Games, delivers a wonderful vision for the winter Olympics, and a lasting sustainable legacy for Sochi. Its sweeping form responds to both its coastal location and mountainous backdrop, whilst its crystalline skin engages with its surroundings by day, and provides an iconic representation of the colour and spectacle of the games when illuminated at night. We are proud to be involved on such a level with Olympstroy,” said John Barrow, Populous senior principal.
This is the 25th year of Populous’ involvement in Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we are now the first design practice to have been officially appointed for the design of two Olympic Stadiums at one time. With Populous being the architects responsible for the main Stadium and venues overlay for the London 2012 Games, designing for Sochi 2014 ensures the continuation of the practice’s unrivalled experience in Olympic event planning and venue design. Each of these stadiums reflects new standards for Olympic sustainability initiatives.
A project of the central Olympic stadium – stadium where opening and closing ceremonies will take place, as well as many medal ceremonies – has been finally selected few days ago. The winner of the tender is a group of companies which includes «Mosproject-4», Russia (architecture design), Populous, USA (architecture design), Botta Management Group, Switzerland (construction management), «ENGEOCOM Association» CJSC, Russia (construction).
The stadium must be completed by the end of first quarter of year 2013. After the Olympics it will be used to host football games and comply with all FIFA regulations.
Below are a few renderings from icube.ru which list «Mosproject-4» as a client, so, I guess, we’re looking at what future stadium will look like.
More renderings: Read the rest of this entry »
Today Lukoil opened solar powered gas station in Krasnaya Polyana. This is certainly first one in Sochi, and according to Lukoil’s press release (rus) it is the first gas station in Russia to use such system developed domestically. The solar generated energy will mostly be used for internal and external lighting, and as an emergency backup system to ensure station running without interruption.
Solar powered gas station in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi. photo (c) Lukoil
Development, Olympics 2014 September 5th, 2009
75 000 construction workers will be working on Olympic projects in 2010-2011 — this is the estimate from Dmitry Kozak, Vice Prime-Minister of Russia responsible for overseeing Olympics preparations. RIA Novosti also quotes him saying that there are no plans to specifically involve migrant workers, all work places should be filled via competitive transparent tenders.
According to him there are only 299 foreign workers are currently working on Olympic construction projects out of around 11 000 people working there today.
Development December 14th, 2008
Vladimir Putin, working as the Russian Prime Minister these days, invited countries of Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) to build hotels near the future Olympic park in Sochi. He suggests they name hotels by the names of their country’s capitals, and use it to promote their countries and cultures.
Besides Russia, members of EurAsEC are Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. If they accept the idea and join the project, Sochi can have complex of hotels where visitors will learn cultural specifics and traditions of these countries.
Another section or “ring” or detour road around Sochi’s center was opened yesterday. Here are some details about this road:
- The road will do from Mamaika district in the Sochi’s center to the area around International Youth Center «Sputnik» in Khosta;
- Construction started in 1988, but was quickly frozen until 1998;
- First section was opened in 2001 from Sputnik, it includes one (if I remember correctly) tunnel and a couple of bridges; it’s 4.5 km long;
- Newly completed section is 4.2km long, and according to Russian media it includes 2 tunnels and seven bridges;
- They are promising to complete the road by the end of 2009.
Some believe it will solve half traffic problems by routing people who are not going to the Sochi’s Central district around it, which sounds like a great idea. But keep in mind following when you reading about this road in the news: First of, the detour road already exist – yes, it’s in pretty bad condition, but it covers pretty much the same route… and it doesn’t solve anything! Maybe if they fix the existing road and there will be two of them it will help the Center, but I haven’t heard of these plans. Secondly, if they route all the construction vehicles there, as the plan to, this will simply destroy this the road, and the rest of the people will continue going through the center continuing jamming traffic there. And thirdly, I’m glad they’re thinking about Central district, but Adler, where Olympics are planed is in no less, and maybe even in more need to improve road infrastructure… yet I know of very few plans to improve it. One of which is to re-route railroad which currently crosses main road in Adler, and constantly causing traffic jams and interruption in public transport, which goes of route to avoid that place, leaving people in some areas with very few ways to get around. But even fixing this is nowhere near to be enough.
Since I’m still not finding much time to write more about Sochi, here are some short news that have been happening recently:
Financial crisis and Sochi investment projects
Amid the global financial crisis and the news that many investors are wrapping up their big real estate projects all around Russia and around World, not a single investor withdrew from the already concrete Olympic projects in Sochi – which is good news. However, new investors are not so quick to jump in anymore, so, the promised Government’s financial guarantees will come handy after all, I guess.
Georgia changes it’s mind
Georgia, which was one of the first to congratulate Russia on winning the Olympics bid, and who’s president said he supported Sochi bid from the beginning.. Same Georgia which then started a war on the first day of the Olympics in Beijing – something that western media was quick to call “Russian propaganda”, but more recently admitted it was Georgia who started it, and finally even Georgian president admitted giving the order to attack South Ossetia after high ranking Georgian official publicly said the same thing… That same Georgia few days ago tried to appeal to IOC to move Olympics from Sochi to another city – the move that IOC has quickly dismissed.
I think now Georgian or Abkhazian question in Sochi Olympics formula is finally closed forever: Georgia attacked Abkhazia (along with Ossetia) → Georgia lost → Russia officially recognized Abkhazia’s independence, which means Abkhazia can help with constructions and will benefit from increased tourism flow to the region → Russian troops will anchor for now in Abkhazia to ensure the region’s stability → IOC acknowledges Sochi is a safe city for the Olympics, the World class event – the cycle is complete for the next decade.
Three persons were detained in connection with explosions in Sochi that occurred earlier this year. No details yet, though.
Development, Olympics 2014 August 20th, 2008
Development, Olympics 2014, Sochi News August 20th, 2008
Olympic venues constructions start moves closer to the reality as Sochi administration and the residents of the Imeritinskaya Valley, where the Sochi 2014 Olympic Park will be located, reached compromise on where the residents will be relocated.
Russia offered exceptionally compact plan, where all the competition venues would be within 30 miles of each other. It will consist of two parts: mountain region, hosting sliding and skiing events, and sea-side region, where ice venues will be located. The sea-side region will be located in the Imeritinskaya Valley of the Adler district. There were several concerns with this location, the biggest one being a question of what to do with the people who live there now. Government has promised to make everyone happy, but with realty prices in Sochi skyrocketing after the successful Olympic bid, residents of “Imeritinka” (as locals call Imeritinskaya Valley) did not trust government to be good to its word. Most recent conflict was in the end of July, when locals did not allow city’s officials to their territory to measure their land.
But it appears that long fought battle is over. Earlier Sochi administration officials said that comromise has been reached, and not a single person will be relocated from the areas of Olympic construction without having their social issues taken care of first. And today Alexander Tkachev, governor of Krasnodarski Krai, signed first nine of 138 orders to take over real estate properties for the Olympic construction.
What is the deal
The details of the deal are as follows: residents will be able to choose between a new house in the eastern Imeritinskaya Valley build by the city, and a residence paid for by administration. For those who will choose to live in eastern part of Imeritinskaya Valley, the administration is allocating 66 hectares for the real estate properties where brand new houses will be built, as well as all necessary infrastructures. In addition to this, new cultural-historical center will be established to preserve traditions of the Old Believers community who live in Imeritinka as well.
It sounds like a really good deal. Especially considering that some parts of the Imeritinka has little to none of basic infrastructure.
First nine household will be relocated until the end of this year, while the rest of them during next 1,5-2 years span.