Rustam Minnikhanov: ‘We are going from the airport — ruts appear anyway’

The president of Tatarstan admitted that he himself had opened new bitumen production enterprises more than once, “and then it turned out that the parameters were not confirmed”

“According to Russian legislation, we are obliged to build only federal highways according to GOST R (federal standard — author's note). They are less than 10%. Everything else — please build roads according to your regional service station standards," Elshad Telyashev, the deputy director general of the Bashkir Institute of Petrochemical Processing JSC, suggested a radical way to get rid of ruts on regional roads. At the next meeting of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest Holding, he criticised the fashion for American Performance Grade (PG) standards when choosing road bitumen, suggesting adopting the Bashkir experience in road construction. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov agreed to make a “trial”. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Again about rutting

“That's how much [time] I work, that's how much we discuss the problem of high-quality road bitumen," Rustam Minnikhanov lamented at the meeting of the board of directors of Tatneftekhiminvest Holding.

He did not say directly which particular route became a cause for irritation that time but later mentioned the road from Kazan International Airport, where an interchange with the participation of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin has recently been opened with pomp.

“Here we are going from the airport — ruts appear anyway. I'm already saying: let's try large crushed stone, let's try something else (we'll choose — author's note)," the president of Tatarstan reasoned aloud about the “incurable” ruts on the roads.

Rustam Minnikhanov admitted that he himself had opened new bitumen production enterprises more than once, “and then it turned out that the parameters were not confirmed”. Obviously, in search of new technological solutions, a team of Bashkir colleagues was invited to Kazan, who made progress.

“This is our friend and partner," the president introduced the scientific director of the Institute — Deputy Director General of the Institute of Petrochemical Processing JSC Elshad Telyashev. “He was criticised, and they were friends. Anyway, people moved forward.

Performance Grade — a loophole for surrogates

How to produce superbitums that will give a long life to the road and without ruts? The speaker reminded that the problem of radically improving the quality of roads has been raised more than once in the professional community, but the issue of rutting has lingered in the air.

To begin with, he identified two reasons for the premature formation of ruts on the roads. Firstly, it is the quality of bitumen as a necessary binder for laying the top layer of the road. According to experts, its contribution to the formation of ruts is at least 70%. Secondly, the rationing of bitumen in the construction of roads.

“If you lay soft asphalt concrete, then a rut will definitely appear in two years," explained Telyashev.

According to the deputy director of the Institute of Petrochemical Processing JSC, the main reason for ruts is that road builders, when choosing a brand of bitumen, are guided by the specially developed American Performance Grade (PG) scale based on rheological properties and temperature ranges of its application.

“In our opinion, PG in the Russian presentation becomes a pass for surrogates. There are only six parameters in it, but there is no history of the creation of this bitumen," he explained.

Why Nizhnekamsk bitumen was banned 20 years ago

Then Telyashev criticised the blind fascination with Western standards, which blocked access to the widespread use of Russian bitumen in road construction.

“Twenty years ago, the production of residual non-oxidised bitumen was launched in Nizhnekamsk for the first time. This technology was launched at TAIF-NK (then Nizhnekamsk Refinery). A unique technology was applied without steam and the emission of harmful effluents. A modern hydro-ejector vacuum system was used. The bitumen produced received excellent ratings from RosDorNII (Russian Road Research Institute) specialists in terms of strength and water resistance," he said.

Tests of this bitumen showed excellent results both on the roads of Tatarstan and abroad. Foreign companies studied the experience, and exports to Finland were discussed. But then the release of this bitumen was prohibited due to non-compliance with one parameter — fragility.

“This parameter does not show anything, and now by all world standards it is excluded as an uninformative indicator," said Telyashev.

It is necessary to build according to own standards

The second unsuccessful experience of using road bitumen occurred in Bashkortostan. According to Telyashev, the production of non-oxidised compounded bitumen was introduced in the republic. This is another way to obtain bitumen with special properties.

“It was used on the Beloretsk-Uchaly mountain section, which is subject to sudden temperature changes. Nevertheless, the highway lasted for over 18 years without a rut. But it was also banned by the Russian Ministry of Transport," he complained.

Since that time, the authorities of Bashkortostan have introduced their own standards in road construction. And it was the right decision.

“There are radical solutions — to make our own regional standards. According to the legislation, according to GOST R (the Russian standard for the construction of highways in the Russian Federation), we are obliged to build only federal roads. They are less than 10%. Everything else — please, build roads according to your regional standards," the speaker urged. “Two years ago, Bashkiria switched to its own standards. Then in the spring, there will be new roads that will 'stand' for a long time and will not crumble," Telyashev is sure.

Then he turned to the president of Tatarstan: “Do you remember you asked if it was possible to produce bitumen from Ashalchin oil?" According to him, the Ufa residents brought an asphalt concrete slab a month later, its cost was 20-30% lower than usual — its tests showed high strength, boasted Telyashev. In conclusion, he presented a book about bitumen and bitumen materials, expressing hope for cooperation with Tatarstan.

“Let's make a trial — the main thing for us is that the road 'withstands'," agreed Minnikhanov.

According to him, the republican authorities had intentions to establish bitumen production.

“We spend so much money to keep the top layer. We still need to look for ways to solve the problem. We will get in touch in the near future," he promised and instructed to develop his own standards in road construction. “We are ready to take everything that is useful.”

Luiza Ignatyeva