The Imperial Bridge in Ulyanovsk is a road and rail crossing that connects the banks of the Volga in the region of the Kuibyshev reservoir.

Construction of the Imperial Bridge

The bridge across the Volga River in Ulyanovsk (formerly Simbirsk) was built only at the beginning of the 20th century. The construction was timed to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the reign of the Romanov dynasty , which was magnificently celebrated in Russia, so the bridge was named Imperial.

In the summer, from one bank of Simbirsk to the other, they were ferried across the canal, in winter they waited for a sleigh ride on the ice. In autumn and spring, there was no communication with the other coast during the muddy roads.

At the end of the 19th century, railway lines were brought to Simbirsk. To cross the Volga, Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin proposed to build a railway bridge.

At the end of 1910, Emperor Nicholas II signed a decree on the construction of the bridge, allocating a huge amount – 15 million rubles. Russian newspapers wrote that this is the largest bridge in Europe.

Features of the construction of the structure

The author of the project, engineer Nikolai Apollonovich Belelyubsky, conceived the bridge as a railway crossing. The construction, which began on March 3, 1913, proceeded with unprecedented success; it was planned to complete it in 2 years.

The latest working methods and modern technology were used here: caissons – waterproof chambers, open from below, inside of which the river bottom is freed from water. And also – overhead cranes, compressors and excavators. Welding was not used: everything on the bridge was fastened with rivets, which took more than a million pieces.

The manual labor of 3,700 workers was used on the construction, except for the gendarmes and bridge guards, technical supervision and river guards. During the construction of the bridge, which was proudly shown to foreigners, not a single worker was injured.

Materials were transported from all over Russia along a narrow-gauge railway specially laid to the construction site. Steel structures were made in Donetsk, and granite for facing the pillars was transported from the Urals. The commissioning of the Imperial Bridge was delayed by two incidents.

Incidents during construction

On July 7, 1914, a fire broke out through the negligence of the workers. A white-hot rivet fell into a pile of dry brushwood. The workers were unable to prevent the fire on their own. On an area of ​​10 acres, a sea of ​​fire spread, which melted into a shapeless mass of span structures made of wrought iron, and the bridge collapsed. The damage that there was no one to compensate was estimated at 2 million rubles.

On May 29, 1915, a landslide occurred on the side of the right bank of the Volga, which destroyed 8 built supports and railway tracks. It took 18 months to recover.

1307 days after the start of construction, on October 5, 1916, the structure named “The Imperial Bridge of His Majesty Nicholas II” was put into operation. Festive skiing on the bridge and dignitaries, and ordinary citizens continued until the evening. After the 1917 revolution, the Imperial Bridge became the Bridge of Freedom, although it was more often called Ulyanovsk

Reconstruction in different years

In the 50s, during the construction of the Kuibyshev hydroelectric power station and the formation of a reservoir, the level of the navigable horizon in the Volga increased by 8 cm, so the bridge was rebuilt. The supports and the passage were strengthened, the structure was lengthened and 2 car lanes were arranged. The renovated bridge was opened in 1958.

For reconstruction in a new style, the Imperial Bridge (the historical name was returned in 2009) was closed from 2003-2010. The construction company “Most” replaced the new pre-revolutionary structures of the bridge, repaired the supports and abutments.

In August 2016, blocking the movement of the platform from 9 pm to 5 am, crushed stone-mastic asphalt concrete was laid.

In the fall of 2009, a road bridge was opened 5 km up the Volga , which had been built since 1986 and was named the President’s. Since then, the people began to call the Imperial Bridge the Old One.

Specifications of the Imperial Bridge

  1. Girder bridge.
  2. The length of the structure is 2111 meters .
  3. The length of the main span is 158.5 m.
  4. The bridge is crossed by the Kuibyshev railway and road communication in 2 lanes, including the movement of urban public transport.
  5. On the sides of the bridge there are power line consoles.
  6. The depth of the Volga from the north side of the bridge is 26 m, from the south side – 32.4 m.
  7. The depth in the area of ​​the navigable span of the bridge is 26.1 m.
  8. The overall height of the navigable span is 13.8 m. This is the smallest dimension among the Volga bridges.

Motor ship wreck accident

On June 5, 1983, the pleasure motor ship “Alexander Suvorov”, due to the negligence of the crew, entered the non-navigable span at full speed and hit the bridge with the superstructure of the ship.

The blow instantly cut off the upper deck and the cinema hall, packed with people. The span of the bridge and the railroad track shifted by 40 cm while a freight train was crossing the bridge at a speed of 70 km / h. 11 out of 53 cars of the train derailed.

Logs, coal fell on the ship, a tank with gasoline fell. Living people were drowning under the roar and screams. Many of the wounded on the ship in hospitals could not be saved: coal chips, getting into wounds, were stained with blood and became invisible, bringing death.

The court sentenced the captain of the ship to 9 years in prison. The motor ship and the bridge were restored. In memory of the victims of the tragedy, an iron 12-meter Orthodox cross was erected in front of the bridge on the north side of the right bank of the Volga on May 31, 2000.