The first road bridge linking Russia and China is complete following the launch of a natural gas pipeline between the two countries, Reuters reported on Monday.
The new bridge, which spans the River Amur and is expected to open in the spring, will link the city of Blagoveshchensk in Russia’s Far East with Heihe in northeastern China in an effort to move larger amounts of freight traffic and agricultural products between the two countries.
“We are forming a new international transport corridor,” Vasily Orlov, the Amur region’s governor, told Reuters. “It will allow us to fully reach our transit potential.”
The new bridge is also a sign of what the news wire called “warming relations,” which Russia has sought since the West imposed sanctions on the country following its annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014.
Construction started in 2016, and while it was completed on the Chinese side by October 2018, the Russian side took longer and was more expensive. The bridge itself required the construction of more than 12 miles of new roads, which was done by a Russo-Chinese company.
The project cost about $295 million and spans more than 1,700 feet, according to CBS News. About 2 million Chinese tourists and 4 million metric tons of goods are expected to cross each year.
And this won’t be the last link between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe.
In 2020, the world’s first international cable car is expected to open there, allowing people to cross between the countries in about seven and a half minutes. It will consist of two international lines and four cabins capable of carrying up to 60 passengers and their luggage each.
Reuters previously reported that the new natural gas pipeline, the Power of Siberia, is expected to help trade between Russia and China to reach $200 billion by 2024.
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