Construction companies have started laying rails on a cross-border bridge between Russia and China, Heilongjiang Daily newspaper reports. It will be operational this year and is expected to take bilateral trade to new highs.
The railroad bridge will be part of the long-awaited infrastructure which is aimed at connecting Russia’s Far East with China’s northernmost Heilongjiang province.
“Russia completed the installation of additional metal spans by April 2. The next stage is to start rail-laying works by both sides,” the newspaper said.
It noted that the work “is planned to be completed by May 20 which indicates the beginning of the countdown to the completion of the Russian-Chinese cross-border railway bridge.” The bridge’s opening for the traffic is scheduled for the end of July.
The governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Aleksandr Levintal, previously said the railroad would be operational by September 2019.
The 2,209-meter-long (7,248ft) Nizhneleninskoye (Jewish Autonomous Region) to Tongjiang (Heilongjiang province) bridge will become the first railway bridge between the two countries. Russia plans to export iron ore, coal, mineral fertilizers, lumber, and other goods via the link to China.
Construction of the cross-border bridge between Russia and China officially started in 2016, following 28 years of negotiations. The new bridge and its associated infrastructure will cost more than $300 million and will be 19.9km (12.4 miles) long. Some 6.5km (4.1 miles) of the bridge and road junctions will lie in China, and the remaining 13.5km (8.4 miles) will be located in Russia, according to China’s CNS agency.
The length of the main suspension bridge will be roughly 1,300 meters and its width will be 14.5 meters. The highway section of the bridge will be ready for traffic this year. Traffic capacity is expected to exceed three million tons of cargo and be used by 1.48 million people a year by 2020. It will greatly facilitate trade between the two countries, since the route will be roughly 3,500km (2,175 miles) shorter.