Metro construction has all but stopped. The focus now is simply on preserving existing lines from destruction.

Northern Metro tunnel collapses

St Petersburg's beleagured Metro suffered another blow last week as a section of the tunnel on the Kirov-Vyborg line, currently under construction, collapsed. No one was hurt.

The 500-meter (1,650 foot) section along one of two tunnels between Lesnaya and Ploshchad Muzhestva stations collapsed and more than 10,000 cubic meters of water flooded into the tunnel.

The second tunnel between the two stations fared slightly better as its dams were closed at the time, although they are not reinforced.

As a result, it was reported, the uncollapsed section is one of the most dangerous in the construction zone.

The civil defense committee decided last week to open the dams and flood the second tunnel in order to relieve pressure on the tunnel walls.

The collapse occurred just after a group of journalists had toured the construction area to see how the rebuilding was progressing.

Water and sand were reportedly falling from the walls just before the collapse.

Technical and emergency crews reportedly rushed to the scene after the tunnel crumbled. The collapse seemed to be caused by water pressure against a dam near the tunnel.

In a statement, the civil defense committee said there is no present danger to the remaining functioning part of the first line, which runs north to south.

The committee stated that pipes in the second tunnel will be removed and the tunnel strengthened. The extra construction will likely prolong the project.

The committee stressed that while passengers cannot travel between Ploshchad Muzhestva and Lesnaya, the stations are still open and passengers can embark or detrain there.

The committee added that plans are under way to add buses to ease the transportation crisis, now exacerbated by the collapsed tunnels.

© 1995 St Petersburg Press

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