Sunday, 5 August 2012

Signs of progress along the S2

After returning from our British break, I was curious to see how work along the S2, Warsaw's southern bypass, was progressing. On Friday, I cycled to work along ul. Poloneza. The asphalt on the viaduct is nearly ready; the pavement, cycle path, lighting, ditto. Of course this is all spurious, because the viaduct does not connect up to the tarmacked road network to the south; 240 metres of dirt track separate the viaduct from ul. Ludwinowska. Will the two be joined in the near future? The road builders have erected an earthwork rampart to prevent commuters from taking advantage of the nearly-completed viaduct. For cyclists, there's the minor inconvenience of having to push your bike over the top of this rampart; it is annoying (the viaduct was originally meant to have been ready in December 2010).

Time, then, to see what's happening along ul. Hołubcowa and at the railway viaduct. Let's start at Hołubcowa, the second of two road bridges over the S2 between ul. Puławska and Węzeł Lotnisko. The beams have now all been laid across the supports and now await decking. Knowing how long the bridge carrying ul. Poloneza has taken, I guess it will comfortably be another 12 months before cars can start using this structure.

Above: the viaduct is unusual in that it curves to the left (looking north). The new line of ul. Hołubcowa will not follow the existing one, but swings off towards ul Czempińska. The railway tracks in the foreground lead to the Metro depot and form the only rail link between Warsaw's Metro system and the outside world.

Above: first view from the top. In the distance to the left, we can see work in progress on the railway viaduct, which is being built in situ while the S2 burrows its way under it.

Above: the giant crane that positioned the beams onto the supports. Its reach is immense - it spans the entire width of the expressway. Its work complete, it will soon be gone from here. Now, on to the railway viaduct.

Interestingly, it was only used at nights, when planes were not landing at Okęcie. When extended to full height, it poses a danger to low-flying aircraft.

Below: the first section is ready, and trains are using it. Indeed, all trains passing this point travel over this one single line, both diesel-hauled coal trains and passenger trains on the Warsaw-Radom line.

Below: both north- and southbound tracks on the Warsaw-Radom line have been cut; it seems that the two viaducts will be done together. I'm impressed at the speed the first viaduct was completed, but I fear the complexity of the remaining work (including gouging out the space below for the expressway) might drag on.

Below: a new gantry has been erected to allow electrified traffic to swing across to the coal-train line and use the first completed section of the viaduct.

The scale of the engineering work here is, by Polish standards, complex. Much can go wrong. Yesterday's Gazeta Wyborcza reported that geological samples of the the embankment carrying the S2 between the airport and A2 motorway (Bilfinger Berger's stretch, rather than the bit being built to Puławska by Teerag-Asdag) have show substandard materials and may have to be dug out and replaced - a hideously costly and time-consuming job if indeed this is the case. My earlier estimate of Puławska getting connected to the A2 by Christmas 2013 may prove over-optimistic.

This time last year:
Quiet afternoon in the bazaar

This time two years ago:
The politics of the symbol

This time three years ago:
Warsaw's walls bear witness

1 comment:

student SGH said...

Shyscrapercity forum also shows pace of works picked up recently, but all in all this venture is a crying shame...