Highway freight and vehicle traffic is expected to be rolling across the first bridge ever built between northeast China and Russia in less than three years.
Construction began Dec. 24 for the nearly 20-kilometer-long structure linking the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk and the Chinese city of Heihe, according to a report posted on the Chinese Ministry of Transport website. The bridge will span the waterway known as the Amur River in Russia and the Heilongjiang River in China.
The two-lane, cable-stayed bridge, which the two countries have been discussing since 1988, is expected to cost about 2.5 billion yuan and open in October 2019.
The bridge project is designed to support China’s Belt and Road international commercial initiative. Once open, the report said, the bridge is expected to play a role in a major expansion of highway passenger and freight traffic between Russia and China.
The bridge and other cross-border road links, such as an existing floating bridge across the river, are expected to increase current traffic levels by 10 times to 1.48 million people and 3.09 million tons of cargo by 2020, the report said.
Photo: Russian and Chinese officials with a model of the bridge at a meeting in 2014