The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced that 2020 will see the global economy shrink by 3 per cent due to the coronavirus, the worst decline since 1929’s Great Depression. Therefore, countries big and small are seeking innovative solutions to hop back on the growth trajectory. As was the case 90 years ago, a ray of hope for a quick economic recovery can be seen through infrastructure projects - including a Ukrainian inventor Arkady Kornatsky’s unique technology Skytunnels.
What is Skytunnels?
Patented in the US, Canada and China, Arkady Kornatsky’s Skytunnels system can be built atop a country’s existing wide highways without impeding traffic along the existing road beneath. Crucially, construction over the road does not lead to an increase in traffic congestion or transport collapse, as opposed to the usual methods of road construction, while upper floors of Skytunnels can be built simultaneously in many directions.
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Thanks to the unique prefabricated Mobile Self-Propelled Tunnel (MSPT), the new multi-lane and multi-functional road infrastructure can be built at a much faster pace than conventional construction methods allow. “The speed of creating Skytunnels infrastructure is ensured by the fact that the construction of Skytunnels over existing wide highways can be carried out at any time of the year and at any time of the day by the method of high-speed installation of ready-to-use structures manufactured industrially at construction enterprises,” explains Kornatsky, a Ukrainian lawyer who devised the concept after spending years stuck in the heavy traffic congestions.
In fact, Kornatsky’s inventions allow cities to build on existing highways not only new roads but also multi-storey parking lots, office, shopping centres, solar power plants, smog air purification towers, light metro lines, bicycle lanes, treadmills, sports grounds, parks, flowerbeds and lawns. Skytunnels infrastructure may be a city within a city.
The foundation of Skytunnels construction technology is the Mobile Self-Propelled Tunnel (MSPT). “These are mega-cars consisting of self-propelled sections that are assembled on site in a single self-propelled multifunctional portal,” says Kornatsky. “MSPT production can be very quickly established by companies producing excavators, bulldozers and cranes - such as Caterpillar, Kato, Samsung and Krupp.”
Additionally, specialised trucks necessary for the delivery of finished structures are an important element of the construction process. According to Kornatsky, they can be easily produced by the automotive industry.
Estimating the cost of traffic
While the construction of Skytunnels can bring new impetus to a nation’s economy through the creation of jobs and business for ancillary industries, one of this infrastructure’s biggest, most immediate benefits is the elimination of traffic jams on the busiest roads.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), traffic congestion cost the US economy nearly $87 billion in 2018. “Skytunnels infrastructure eliminates traffic congestion, its negative effects and performs many other useful functions.
“Skytunnels significantly increases the safety of traffic, dramatically reduces the number of accidents on the road, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. It can also prevent the ingress of exhaust gases, noise and dust from the movement of vehicles into the atmosphere. It can cleanse the air of smog while hosting solar power plants, parks, squares, sports grounds, bike paths, parkings, residential, office, shopping centres, helipads, engineering communications and much more".
What are Skytunnels made of?
The main elements of Skytunnels load-bearing structures are metal or reinforced concrete piles, columns, trusses, beams, beams, lintels and floor slabs - all products manufactured by the building materials industry for building bridges and fast-mounted buildings.
“However, it should be noted that Skytunnels projects will give impetus to the mass application of new materials, such as nanotechnology, composites and synthetic pavements,” adds Kornatsky.
“Due to the fact that Skytunnels must be completely or (depending on the climate) partially isolated from the outside world by translucent structures, a huge amount of glass, polycarbonate and other similar materials will be used as well.”
Additionally, Skytunnels are fully compatible with cutting-edge IT technologies, to the extent that they can measure the body temperature of drivers and passengers on the go, identify dangerous cars and carry out external control of cars.
Building the tunnel
The speed of Skytunnels infrastructure building is ensured by the fact that the construction of MSPTs over existing highways can be carried out at any time of the year or day by high-speed installation of finished structures.
“All elements of the tunnels are manufactured industrially on factory floors, delivered by motor vehicles to the installation site in accordance with the IT schedule and are quickly installed according to the design of the project,” says Kornatsky.
If we consider a hypothetical Skytunnel from Dubai World Trade Centre to Business Bay, like any other road system it depends on several factors:
1. The complexity of the construction of the new road (is it one-, two- or multi-tiered).
2. The size of investment, in particular, on the number of involved MSPT, enterprises of various industries and personnel.
“Hypothetically, one pair (two pieces installed in parallel on oncoming lanes) of a 50-metre MSPT with an uninterrupted supply of road structures can build 200 metres of the second floor of the road per day. Accordingly, with the simultaneous use of two pairs of MSPT, the 14-km-long road of the simplest design can be mounted in 35 days,” says Kornatsky.
One important factor affecting the speed and cost of construction is the level of development of the building materials industry in a region. The longer the “shoulder of delivery” of road structures, says Kornatsky, the more expensive and longer the construction.
Luckily, the UAE is no stranger to ambitious infrastructure initiatives. From its world-class highway system to the Dubai Metro and air-conditioned bus stops, the country has proven time and again that it’s an ideal candidate to take on ground-breaking projects that help people get from point A to B with efficiency and comfort. Kornatsky believes the country could be the perfect place to realise his vision for making traffic history.
For more information on Skytunnels, visit: