The Volgograd arena, built for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, is meant to become an emblematic infrastructure project of the city. Majestically overhanging the Volga and facing the famous statue of the Motherland, the Pobeda Arena brings out an impression of clarity and space with its large roof made of high-strength steel cables covered with a large translucent canvas. It was constructed using a technique called “Big Lift”: after pre-assembly on the ground, the cable-stayed structure is then erected in its final position thanks to its tensioning by jacking.

  • Owner
    Russian sports ministry
  • Client
    STG Stroytransgaz
  • Delivery date
  • Partners of the project
    Structural Design Office: EFA
    Cables supplier: FATZER
    Jacks: HEBETEC
Volgograd arena - Cable-stayed roof

A very technical implementation in a short period of time

The eaves protecting the 45,000-seat stands of the Volgograd Arena consist of a cable-stayed structure forming a circular crown supported by an outer peripheral structural steelwork surmounting the stadium compound.

Resembling the spokes of a bicycle wheel, forty-four lines of star cables connect the two superimposed tension rings constituting the inner edge of the crown to the outer edge, consisting of a compression ring integrated into the metal frame. In line with each of these anchor lines, a cantilever beam made up of a 20-m high-arched steel column ensures the transmission of the compression forces between the two central rings, while four support legs separate the two levels of radial cables which, once tensioned, enable the structure to be self-supporting.

In just six months, our teams assembled and erected this 1,600-t structure at a height of 48 m, while working with other teams, with a small available footprint and very harsh weather conditions linked to the proximity of the Volga.

Extremely precise sequencing of the jacking operations on Volgograd arena

After unrolling and pre-assembling its various components on temporary platforms located at the foot of the stands, the erection operations of the cable-stayed structure took place in two main phases, each comprising several dozen lifting sequences. The first phase consisted in hoisting the upper tension ring (made up of 6 multi-strand cables of 70 mm diameter) by progressively tensioning a first row of radial cables (diameter 60 to 70 mm) and also included the pinning of the steel columns joining the two rings. Due to the oval shape of the framework, the length of the cables, the orientation of deviators and the dimension of the ring required are different for the installation of each of the columns, requiring extremely precise sequencing to perform this pinning. The second phase enabled to lift the entire structure thanks to the tensioning of the lower ring (6 multi-strand cables of 130 mm diameter). At the end of each of these two phases, the radial cables had to be fixed to the compression ring after removing the jacks when their tension was maximum. This crucial step was made possible thanks to a tool specially designed to ensure perfect alignment and enable this wedging.

  • 44
    Number of ring tension axes
  • 88
    Jacks controlled simultaneously during lifting
  • 15,000t
    Required lifting capacity
Volgograd arena roof - 3D view

Careful monitoring of jacking in real time based on a theoretical model

To enable the lifting of some 1,600 t of cables and equipment making up the structure, eighty-eight cable jacks (H140, H200 and H400 ranges) with a total capacity of 15,000 t were controlled simultaneously. The stroke required and the pulling force to be applied to each sequence varied throughout the lifting process. Since the structural strength could not tolerate an altimetric shift of more than 10 cm all around the rings, extremely precise geometric monitoring was implemented: the stroke of the jacks was controlled by a video camera system while topographic monitoring enabled to follow the inclination and the position of deviators. This rigorous monitoring system has enabled to define in real time all the geometric corrections to be made by each jack so that at each traction sequence, the geometry specific to each element corresponds to the 3D numerical calculation model previously established by our design office, the only guarantee of being able to carry out this Big Lift under high tension.

The key to the success of this “Big Lift” was to put together a superb project team with very good interpersonal skills and continuous cooperation between the design and construction teams to guarantee the quality of the work and the safety of people. The creation of special tools and the conducting of a continuous geometric survey enabled to overcome the difficulties linked to this highly technical, unconventional lifting method and enabled an optimisation of construction costs.

Project manager

Download Freyssinet Technical paper on Volgograd Arena Big Lift operations


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