Land of Large Abandoned Objects (LAOs)

I wrote an earlier post that the South Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are cluttered with LAOs. These date back twenty years to when the Soviet Union collapsed and the money ran out. There are all types, buildings, machinery, trains, etc., but my favourite are infrastructure. As I was travelling from Yerevan to Tbilisi I saw out in the middle of a field eight partially completed concrete columns. There was nothing else: just eight columns about 15 m tall, with reinforcing steel. I thought that one day there will be some archaeologist who will wonder why this structure was placed in the middle of nowhere.  At least the function of the incomplete viaduct in Spitak Armenia’s function is clear: it was to be very nice bypass over the river valley. However now it is an object lesson to what happens when you abandon an incomplete structure.

They had completed almost all the columns, and even capped them and started to put the beams in when they stopped.


As you can see, they started putting in two beams and then just walked away. The beams have warped over time. How long will they lie there? Probably until the next moderate earthquake …


The columns will last longer … In Georgia we had a similar situation and the Roads Department wanted to use them but in the end we (wisely) decided that we should just destroy them and start afresh. Such as waste of effort and money …


The demolition of LAOs would keep and army of workers busy for years. I hope that the countries are eventually prosperous enough to do this because it is a very sad reminder of what has been lost.


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