Flood risk in Saint Petersburg

We take a look at the flood risk in Saint Petersburg along with its historical issues and the new plans to tackle them.

Russian Summer Palace in Saint Petersbrug, image by Victorgrigas
Russian Summer Palace in Saint Petersbrug, image by Victorgrigas

Tackling flood risk in Saint Petersburg

The extraordinary challenges faced by civil engineers in Saint Petersburg, Russia are reported in a special issue of the ICE Civil Engineering journal.

It provides an unprecedented insight into the infrastructure trials and tribulations in Russia's second largest city.

Ecological concerns

Situated on 42 islands in the low-lying River Neva delta next to the Baltic Sea, the 'Venice of the north' has battled flooding since it was founded by Emperor Peter the Great in 1703.

In 2011 a controversial 25km long, £2 billion flood embankment was finally completed to protect the city from storm surges, but at a potentially huge ecological cost.

According to Leonid Lavrov and Sergey Sementsov of Saint Petersburg State University, the barrage appears to have transferred the flooding to other areas, led to a significant deterioration of water quality in the Neva delta and bay, and triggered long-term damage to the city's subway system.

Perceived corruption

The issue also looks at problems developing the city's historic centre. Managing freight traffic and making roads frost proof are covered too.

Getting private funds into what is seen as the 127th most corrupt country is not easy. But good private-public partnership projects can still get done.

One such is the city's new airport which opened last year. Shon Mills and Kevin Hares of Ramboll UK say this was despite the limitations of Russian codes.

Find out more

About the ICE Civil Engineering journal, For more information, please contact the ICE Proceedings editor Simon Fullalove on +44 20 7665 2448 or at editor@ice.org.uk.