ST. PETERSBURG, August 12 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday witnessed the commissioning of a flood prevention facility in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.
The ceremony was timed to coincide with the Builder’s Day marked in Russia. According to the prime minister, the construction industry is one of the most important ones for the Russian economy. “In the next few years we must at least double the construction of housing bringing it up to 100 million square meters of housing a year,” he said.
In his words, the commissioning of St. Petersburg’s flood prevention facility is a “historic event.” The construction began back in 1979 and proceeded fair-to-middling, he noted. He said that after his visit to the facility in 2005 he had doubts whether it could be completed at all but the construction resumed in 2006. “As a result, the city has been granted not merely protection from floods, but its ecology has benefited as well,” he said referring to the city circular road that has also been completed as the facility is commissioned. “I am pleased to say that this facility is being commissioned ahead of the Builder’s Day,” he said. “I would like to congratulate all of you.”
The prime minister was showed around the facility control centre, from where controllers monitor the operation of the complex. More than 30 water treatment facilities are incorporated in the flood prevention complex keeping the water in the Neva bay clean. Then he climbed up to the observation platform to see the operation of the dam gates, each one weighing 3,000 tons. The gates are designated to prevent floods: when they are closed no water can reach the city.
Having seen the gates, Putin said, “They are worth of St. Petersburg. A grandiose facility. It has a technological beauty.”