The construction of a new 19-km bridge across the Kerch Strait to Crimea will cost $6.17 billion, the Russian government said in a resolution published at the regulation.gov.ru website on Monday.
The Federal Road Agency of the Russian Transport Ministry will be responsible for the construction. The federal center will finance 99.7 % of the works under the federal target programme of socio-economic development of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. Both regions became parts of Russia after Crimea had reunited with its historical homeland in March 2014. The Russian Finance Ministry is supposed to allocate the rest of the sum.
This year’s logjams at the Kerch Strait ferry crossing, which is Crimea’s only link with mainland Russia, makes the bridge construction particularly urgent.
Until January 2014, Russia had had plans to build an automobile bridge jointly with Ukraine. The initial cost of construction works was estimated at $1.5-3 billion. But those plans were given up after Crimea separated from Ukraine and became part of Russia in March. Now, Russia is planning to implement a more ambitious project - to build a combined automobile and railway bridge over Plait Tuzla to Crimea.
The initial construction costs of $6.67 billion were then reduced to half a billion dollars. The final cost includes both the construction of a bridge and automobile and railway approaches to it.
According to Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, the engineering works were almost finished and preparatory construction works were expected to start in August.
Russia has already signed a contract with the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), which has shown interest in building the bridge.
“Our Chinese partners showed interest and intention to participate in this project,” Sokolov said after meeting the Chinese company’s executives in Sochi last month.
Sokolov said the timeline for construction would be strict. The Kerch Strait Bridge is to be completed by December 16, 2018.