Construction officially began today on a modern highway bridge connecting China and Russia across the Heilongjiang River, the first between the two countries.
The bridge follows 28 years of talks between the two countries.
The main span of the bridge is 1,283 meters and links Heihe to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. Costing 2.5 billion yuan (about 360 million U.S. dollars), the bridge will open in October 2019.
“The bridge is an important international link, and part of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. It will strengthen cooperation between the neighbouring two regions,” said Qin Enting, communist Party chief of Heihe City.
A representative of the Russian regional government also confirmed the beginning of work on the bridge Saturday.
“A solemn opening ceremony was held. The construction of the cross-border bridge across the Amur River was commenced,” the representative told RIA Novosti.
The governor of Russia’s Amur Region, Alexander Kozlov, and representatives of authorities of the Chinese Heilongjiang province took part in the ceremony, according to the Representative.
The bridge would increase the turnover of cargo by approximately 10 million tonnes and significantly shorten the distance for shipments through Heilongjiang to Moscow and Khabarovsk.
Passenger flow between the two cities is expected to reach 1.5 million a year by 2020, double the current figure.
Russia and China also plan to construct another bridge across the Amur River, between the city of Tongjiang in China’s Heilongjiang Province and Nizhneleninskoye in Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region.
*Xinhua and Sputnik