The construction of a USD 360 million highway bridge connecting China and Russia across the Heilongjiang river has finally started after 28 years of talks, official media reported on Saturday. The main span of the bridge is 1,283 metres and links Heihe to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. “The bridge is an important link, and part of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. It will strengthen cooperation between the two regions,” Qin Enting, Communist Party chief of Heihe City said.
The bridge will boost trade between China and Russia and China’s investment in infrastructure, energy, and natural resources in Russia, Li Jianmin, a Eastern Europe and Central Asia researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said. The bridge will benefit both Russia’s far east development and China’s revitalisation of the old industrial base in northeastern provinces, Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute in Heilongjiang said.
Costing 2.5 billion yuan (about USD 360 million) the bridge will open in October 2019, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Passenger flow between the two cities is expected to reach 1.5 million a year by 2020, double the current figure. Cargo volume will reach three million tonnes by then, ten times today’s figure.