Roads or Lack of roads: how can the quality of roads in Yakutsk can be improved and what prevents it

Roads on permafrost
Quality of roads in Yakutsk is a sore subject for the citizens. Significant means are invested in the repair and construction of the road surface, but only after two or three years after the completion of the work the quality of the road surface deteriorates sharply. Nonprofit organization “Sinet Spark” which implements different programs of improving the urban environment, initiated the project “Roads of Yakutsk” to identify the reasons of roads deterioration and develop the recommendations for changing the situation for the better. Unfortunately, private initiative ran up against bureaucracy, and the project came to a standstill. The Ykt.Ru portal is sorting out the situation.

What is the concept of the project “Roads of Yakutsk”

Permafrost heaving soils and harsh climate conditions are a serious challenge to any engineering structure. That is why the “Sinet Spark” team does not only monitor the quality of city roads, but also searches for new technology that can significantly increase the service life of the road surface. Currently the situation is disappointing: the road surface quickly becomes useless, which hits not only the city budget, but also the budgets of car owners who have to spend fortunes on repairing their cars, affected by the bad roads.

The goal of the project “Roads of Yakutsk” is to test new technologies, that can prolong the service life of the city roads, to perform an examination of the quality of the road surface, to identify the causes of deterioration of the roads ahead of regulatory deadlines, as well as develop the recommendations that could prevent this state of affairs.

For conducting the research of the quality of roads in Yakutsk, “Sinet Spark” signed a contract with the independent expert organization Research and Development center “Road building materials” from Moscow. The objects for the examination were nine sections of the roads in Yakutsk:

three road sections on Avtodorozhnaia street;
section on Tchaikovskii street;
section on Bestuzhev-Marlinskii street;
section on Stadukhin street;
section on Poyarkov street;
section on Petrovskii street;
section on Kurashov street.

Why it was not possible to conduct a meaningful examination of the roads

To carry out core sampling (corn is a sample of asphalt concrete or other material extracted from pavement layers by drilling - editor’s note) a letter was sent to the Urban management service with a request to coordinate the execution of the examination work with the obligation to re-seal the holes within 24 hours.

In response to this letter, “Sinet Spark” received a refusal from the Urban management service.

After that expert organization offered to determine the elasticity of the road surface with a static stamp, which can indirectly provide information about the strength by a non-destructive method, that is, without core sampling.

These works were conducted in the period from September, 20 to October, 1, 2021 and after one and half months Research and Development center “Road building materials” presented the results of examination in the form of an engineering report.

What the results of the examination showed

The results of the examination are as follows:

  1. Various defects were found on all nine sections with a total area of 5640 square meters. The main reasons for the formation of defects experts called poor-quality construction work, violation of production technology, the use of low-quality materials.
  2. According to the results of determining the elasticity of the roads, asphalt on all nine sections does not meet the standards.
  3. Only on two sections out of five, the parameters of the evenness of the top layer of the surface meet the standards (unfortunately, work on the examination of the evenness of roads was carried out only on five sections out of nine, as snow fell).

After summarizing the results of the project, Moscow experts recommended more detailed survey procedures, strengthening control over construction work and the quality of building materials.

On December 21, 2021 Ykt.Ru Editorial made a request to the Yakutsk administration asking to comment on the results of the study. Today, January 21, 2022, exactly a month has passed, and we have not yet received a response from the mayor's office.

How will the project "Roads of Yakutsk" develop

Team "Sinet Spark" plans to resume the project after the snow melts, and hopes to achieve from the relevant state structures such as Urban management service and Municipal public institution “Glavstroy”, coordination of work for the examination of the with the core sampling, as works performed in the autumn, unfortunately, do not give a full picture of the true causes of the deterioration of the roads.

"We want the authorities to further assist in conducting independent private examinations. This year, due to the refusal to conduct core samples, it was not possible to conduct a complete analysis of the quality of roads. If such permission had been obtained, the results of the examination would have been more complete and meaningful. This would help to improve the quality of roads in the future and make the life of Yakut citizens more comfortable", this is the opinion of the head of the project "Roads of Yakutsk" Ivan Gavriliev.

What is “Slurry seal” technology and how it can help Yakutsk

Examinations are not the only event within the framework of the project “Roads of Yakutsk”. Also, to extend the service life of the roads, “Sinet Spark” will test the Slurry seal technology, which is used on federal highways and increases the repair period.

The technology itself consists in applying a protective coating of bitumen emulsion and screening up to one centimeter thick on the surface of roads. Thus, the top layer of asphalt is protected from destruction, cracks are sealed, a small rut on the road is eliminated.

Work on the application of a protective coating has already been carried out on August 17, 2021 in the village of Zhatai on Severnaya street. But due to the violation of the technology of laying the protective layer by the contractor, this layer did not harden within the regulatory deadlines, and the experiment had to be suspended.

In the future, having eliminated all issues related to the coating technology, “Sinet Spark” decided to postpone the tests to 2022, since the application of "Slurry seal" is possible only at temperatures above 10 degrees, while the weather should be clear, without precipitation.


Ykt.Ru will monitor the development of the situation and the further progress of the “Roads of Yakutsk ”project.

Photo: Anton Kondratiev

Author: Yuri Yakutskii

Source: News.Ykt.Ru