Transportation Construction

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Transportation Construction


the sector of construction engaged in building and rebuilding facilities for rail, motor-vehicle, water, air, and pipeline transportation. The sector includes the construction of railroad and highway roadbeds, track superstructures, and equipment for the electrification, automation, and remote control of railroads. It also encompasses the construction of pavements, bridges, tunnels, subways, docks in seaports and river ports, canals, trunk petroleum and natural-gas pipelines, terminals, depots, and maintenance and service buildings.

In prerevolutionary Russia, transportation construction was limited chiefly to the laying of railroads and roads for horse-drawn vehicles and to the construction of docks on inland waterways. The largest rail construction project was the Trans-Siberian Railroad, on which through traffic between Moscow and Vladivostok opened in 1905.

In the USSR, transportation construction is conducted according to long-range plans for the development of the country’s unified transportation system. The first program for transportation construction, covering two years, was set forth by a Mar. 27, 1919, decree of the Sovnarkom (Soviet of People’s Commissars). During the Civil War and Military Intervention of 1918–20,1,000 km of new railroads were built.

The plan of the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia (GOELRO), which was developed on the initiative of V. I. Lenin, was adopted in 1920. The GOELRO plan envisioned electrification of the most heavily traveled main lines and of mountain and suburban sections, as well as the construction of new lines. By 1925,2,700 km of new railroads had been built, and lines destroyed during the war had been rebuilt. The first civil air route, between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod (now Gorky), was opened in 1923.

During the prewar five-year plans (1929–40), 13,400 km of new railroads were built, including the Turkestan-Siberian and Moscow-Donets Coal Basin main lines and railroads in the Urals, the Kuznetsk Coal Basin, Kazakhstan, and the Far East. The ties of these regions with the central and western regions of the country were strengthened. The rail sections that presented the greatest difficulties in terms of grades, turns, and heaviness of freight traffic were electrified, as was the Moscow Railroad Junction. The Amur-Yakut, Chu, Usinsk, Angara-Lena, and Moscow-Minsk highways were built, as were Vnukovo Airport in Moscow and hundreds of other airfields, dozens of seaports and river ports, and the Volga-Don and Moscow canals. The most important petroleum and petroleum-products pipelines laid were the Armavir-Trudovaia, Kaspii-Orsk, and Ishimbai-Ufa lines. Two lines of the Moscow subway system went into operation.

As a result of the high rate of transportation construction, the country had a fairly elaborate transportation system by 1941. This made possible, in the very first days of the Great Patriotic War (1941–15), the relocation of industry to the eastern regions and the evacuation of the population, together with shipments for the front. Despite the enormous amount of restoration work, 9,000 km of new railroads, 12,000 km of new hard-surfaced roads, and 1,560 km of trunk pipelines were built during the four years of war and construction of the Moscow subway was continued.

After the war, the rate of transportation construction continued to accelerate (see Table 1). Between 1945 and 1975 there was considerable activity in various areas. The South Siberian Main Line, railroads in the virgin and fallow lands, and the Taishet-Lena, Barnaul-Omsk, and Tiumen’-Tobol’sk lines were built, and the Moscow-Baikal, Leningrad-Moscow-Leninakan, Moscow-Kiev-Chop, and Karaganda-Tselinograd-Magnitogorsk main lines were electrified. Automatic block signaling and centralized traffic control were introduced on most of the heavily traveled lines. Construction of the Baikal-Amur Main Line (BAM), a distance of 3,145 km from Ust’-Kut to Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, began in 1974. This new route will make it possible to tap vast natural resources for the national economy, to create a large new industrial region, and to build new cities and communities. Work on double-tracking and on the modernization of stations, electrification, and the introduction of automation and remote control is continuing.

Table 1. Length of transportation routes in the USSR (km)
11940 data
Railroads of the Ministry of    
Transport of the USSR112,900116,900131,400138,300
Electrified railroads2,0003,00024,90038,900
Hard-surfaced motor-vehicle    
roads155,300177,300378 300660,500
River shipping routes117 2001302001 42 7001 45 400
Air routes1 46 3001300 500481 100827 000
Trunk petroleum and products    
Trunk gas pipelines300230041 80099200
Double-tracked subway lines37143147274

The Moscow-Simferopol’ highway was opened in 1950; it was followed by the Kiev-Kharkov-Ordzhonikidze, Minsk-Brest, Moscow-Leningrad-Murmansk, Moscow-Gorky, Frunze-Osh, and Moscow-Kuibyshev-Cheliabinsk highways. During the 1970’s, extensive construction work was carried out on the Moscow-Volgograd highway and the network of roads in Tiumen’ Oblast.

Air transportation developed at the fastest rate. The transition to heavy passenger airplanes required the technical modernization of existing airports and the construction of new airports. Between 1959 and 1965 more than 60 airports were built and modernized, including Domodedovo in Moscow, Borispol’ in Kiev, and Tolmachevo in Novosibirsk. In 1976 new runways were under construction at the Sheremet’evo International Airport in Moscow and the Astrakhan’, Kazan, and Kaliningrad airports.

By 1950 reconstruction and simultaneous modernization of damaged ports and shipyards was basically complete. In subsequent years, new ports were built at Nakhodka, Vanino, Petro-pavlovsk-Kamchatskii, Sochi, and Il’ichevsk. The ports of Vladivostok, Leningrad, Novorossiisk, Odessa, Zhdanov, Baku, Astrakhan, and Krasnovodsk were modernized and expanded. Unique railroad ferry crossings from Baku to Krasnovodsk (1962) and from Vanino to Kholmsk (1973) were put into operation. Construction of another major port, the port of Vostochnyi in Vrangel’ Bay, and a port in Grigor’evskii estuary near Odessa were scheduled for completion in the 1980’s. New developments in river transport included the opening of the Volga-Baltic waterway and the construction of new ports and modernization of existing ones at Leningrad, Yaroslavl, Gorky, Kazan, Ul’ianovsk, Kuibyshev, Volgograd, Perm’, Omsk, Irkutsk, and Yakutsk. Large ports in Tobol’sk, Surgut, and Osetrovo were planned for the early part of the tenth five-year plan (1976–80).

Among the trunk petroleum pipelines that have been laid are the Druzhba (Friendship) Pipeline and lines from Tuimazy to Irkutsk, from Subkhankulovo to Novorossiisk via Kuibyshev, and from Samotlor to Kirishi via Al’met’evsk, Gorky, and Yaroslavl. As of 1965 the Central, Eastern Ukrainian, Western, Volga, Caucasian, Middle Asian, and Ural gas pipeline systems were in operation. Gas from Tiumen’ Oblast is transported to the center of the country by trunk gas pipelines, and the four-line Middle Asia-Central Zone system is operating at full capacity.

New subway lines are under construction in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, Baku, and Kharkov, and the first line in Tashkent is under construction (1976). The construction of subways is also planned for other cities with populations exceeding 1 million, including Gorky, Novosibirsk, Sverdlovsk, and Kuibyshev.

The organization and management of transportation construction have been improved in all stages of the development of the socialist economy. The specialized national Ministry of Transportation Construction (Mintransstroi) was established in 1954 and was charged with overseeing the construction of railroads, large bridges, tunnels and subways, and hydroengineering structures in seaports and river ports; in 1959 the construction of national highways and airfields was added to the ministry’s responsibility. Trunk pipelines are built by the Ministry of Construction of Petroleum and Gas Industry Enterprises. In 1975 the Mintransstroi system included 122 construction trusts and administrative bodies, which supervised 1,077 fixed-site and field organizations with an annual volume of contract work of more than 3 billion rubles. Small projects for technical modernization of railroads are carried out by organizations of the Ministry of Transportation. The construction and repair of republic, oblast, raion, and local vehicle roads are managed by the appropriate ministries or main administrations under the Councils of Ministers of Union republics.

Transportation construction has its own industrial base, which ensures a steady rise in the level of industrialization of construction. The base includes enterprises for the production of rein-forced-concrete and metal components, nonmetallic building materials, porous aggregates for concrete, and joinery, fixed-site and mobile cement and asphalt-concrete plants, and plants for the repair of construction machinery and equipment. Establishment of the production base for construction of the BAM will also entail large capital investments. New enterprises are being built in Shimanovskaia, Taishet, Kurgan, Ulan-Ude, Ust’-Kut, and Amazar. In 1975 the level of integrated mechanization in earthworks, installation of structural components, concrete work, and highway construction reached 98.3–99.6 percent. At the same time the volume of production of precast concrete components at enterprises of Mintransstroi was 28 times greater than in 1954, and labor productivity had risen by a factor of 3.4

Technical progress in transportation construction has been promoted by combining the leading sectoral research, planning and design, and construction organizations under a single ministry. The close ties between science and industry made possible the rapid development and introduction of prefabricated components for bridges, tunnels, roads, airfields, and port hydroengineering structures.

The beds of railroads and motor-vehicle roads are laid by a fully mechanized procedure using excavators, scrapers, bulldozers, dump trucks, special tamping and grading machines, hydraulic mechanization equipment, and drilling and blasting units. The capacities of earth-moving and transportation machines are rising steadily. Railroad track is put together by track-assembly machines and laid on the bed in large sections by tracklayers, elec-troballasting equipment, and other track machines.

Precast concrete and steel span structures of various systems and deep-set foundations made with precast concrete shells and drilled and driven piles are used in building bridges. Powerful vibratory pile drivers, drilling rigs, and other specialized equipment are used in the erection of supports. Precast concrete linings and other components are used extensively in the construction of tunnels and subways. Underground work is done by means of mechanized heading machines. Standardized rein-forced-concrete dock elements and large-block jetties and breakwaters have been introduced in the construction of seaports and river ports. Petroleum-products and gas pipelines are laid by a fully mechanized procedure using pipelayers and welding and other machines.

Transportation construction is also developing on a planned basis in the other socialist countries. To coordinate rail transportation, which has the most important role in the movement of freight, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) has established the Organization for Railroad Cooperation to supplement the existing Transportation Commission. Electrification and the installation of automatic equipment on railroads are proceeding rapidly. The most important international rail lines are being redesigned on the basis of coordinated plans. The Chop-Prague and Warsaw-Prague lines, among others, have been electrified. New railroads are under construction in Mongolia and Cuba (1976). The expansion of ports according to a uniform plan is under way in the basins of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Danube River. The trans-Europe Druzhba (Friendship) Pipeline has been laid by joint efforts, and an international gas pipeline from Orenburg to the western border of the USSR is under construction. Soviet specialists are participating in the planning and construction of subways in Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Lódz, Bucharest, Sofia, Belgrade, and Pyongyang.

In the developing countries, transportation construction is aimed at strengthening the state sector of the national economy. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the USSR provided technical assistance in construction of the Kushka-Herat-Kandahar, Naiba-bad-Hairaton, and other highways in Afghanistan; the Baghdad-Basra railroad in Iraq, the Conakry-Debenet railroad in Guinea, and the Akkari-Tartus railroad in Syria, where the Al-Qamishli-Aleppo-Latakia, Homs-Damascus, and other railroads are also under construction with Soviet aid.

In the developed capitalist countries, transportation construction is carried out through private and state capital investment under market conditions. These countries do not have long-range plans for the harmonious combination of various forms of transportation. After World War II (1939–45), when inexpensive liquid fuel was abundant, most capital investment was directed at the construction of highways and at the transition to diesel traction on the railroads. In 1973, only 1 percent of the US rail network was electrified, and in Great Britain the figure was only 19 percent. In France, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, Sweden, and Norway, most of the work on the modernization of railroads is directed at electrification. Japan, the USA, and various Western European countries are devoting considerable attention to high-speed rail transportation.

A trend toward expansion and modernization of the network of subways has become apparent in the process of solving the intricate problems of the development of urban transit. The largest cities in the capitalist countries typically build multilayer underground complexes, which include subway stations and waiting areas, motor-vehicle and pedestrian tunnels, garages and parking areas, stores, and utility mains. Such complexes have been built in Paris, Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, and Tokyo.


Stroitel’stvo. Moscow, 1965. (Entsiklopediia sovremennoi tekhniki.)
Stroitel’stvo v SSSR. Moscow, 1967.
Levin, B. I., and G. S. Pereselenkov. Transportnoe stroitel’stvo v deviatoi piatiletke. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
From a transportation construction standpoint, I've had suppliers tell me they've seen slight increases on steel and concrete due to tariffs, but the major reason prices are going up is due to demand.
'These include Telecommunications, Transportation Construction and Health.'
board of directors.<br />The additions expand the board from seven to nine members.<br />Acosta, 52, is president and CEO of Carcon Industries and Construction, a Dallas-based firm specializing in commercial, industrial and transportation construction. Acosta is the founder and CEO of STL Engineers, a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm also based in Dallas.
The ARTBA Foundation is taking that commitment to the next level with the launch of a new "Transportation Construction Safety Center" found at
Among the trips are geologic challenges and engineering solutions for major transportation construction projects in Seattle, grounding line processes of the southern Cordilleran ice sheet in the Puget lowland, the incorporation of sedimentary rocks into the deep levels of continental magmatic arcs: links between the North Cascades arc and surrounding sedimentary terranes, and exploring the western Idaho shear zone using the Strabo-Spot data system.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is dropping its requirement that states develop performance measurements to track greenhouse gas emissions in transportation construction projects.
These companies are conducting businesses in the areas of transportation construction telecommunications information technology energy and agro-food.
The division's mission is to identify innovative and alternative funding sources and advance ODOT's goal of developing long-term, sustainable solutions to fund future transportation construction projects.
(NYSE: ASH), a transportation construction, chemical, and petroleum company, has agreed to acquire ISP, a global specialty chemical manufacturer of innovative functional ingredients and technologies.
"You know the gas tax hasn't been raised since 1991 in Texas," said Thomas Bohuslav, a transportation construction consultant who attended the forum.
Eight transportation construction projects were selected as winners of 2007 Excellence in Contract Administration Awards by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Associated General Contractors of Washington.

Full browser ?