The first bridge connecting Russia and China was opened in the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk and Chinese city of Heihe. The opening ceremony was held on June 10, 2022. The bridge was planned to open back in 2016, but the coronavirus pandemic was to blame.
The ceremony was remotely attended by Yuri Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Russian Far East; Hu Chunhua, Deputy Premier of the State Council of China; Vitaly Saveliev, Minister of Transportation, and Alexei Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic.
Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev commented on the opening of the bridge: “In today’s fractured world, the Blagoveshchensk – Heihe bridge between Russia and China has a special, symbolic meaning. It will become another thread of friendship that connects the peoples of Russia and China. Construction of the bridge began in 2016, thousands of people were involved in the construction, working around the clock from both the Chinese and Russian sides.”
Hu Chunhua, deputy premier of China’s State Council, also commented that the opening of the bridge shows the readiness of both countries to deepen all-around cooperation.
He said: “The Chinese side is ready to jointly use the opportunities of the launching of the bridge crossing with the Russian side, constantly promote transport interconnection, provide better logistics services for personnel movement, and consolidate trade communication.”
The transport bridge connects the Russian village of Kanikurgan near Blagoveshchensk and the Chinese village of Changfa near Heihe. The first cargoes, such as oil, lumber, car parts, and electrical equipment, have already crossed the river.
The bridge between Russia and China has enormous economic potential. According to preliminary data, the trade turnover between Russia and China may increase up to 1 million tons of cargo a year. The bridge will reduce transport costs for businesses and enable neighboring regions to more than triple the path of exports and imports.
The capacity of the bridge is 630 trucks, 164 buses and 68 cars. The length of the access roads is 18 km. It is two-lane, and the total width of the roadway is 11 meters. It includes six kilometers of road in China and 13 kilometers of access roads in Russia, in which another 278 meters is a bridge across the Kanikurgan channel. The price to cross the bridge is $150. The local administration wants to lower the price, but only after 20 years. The Russian authorities have invested 14 billion rubles in the construction of the bridge, while the Chinese donated 4 billion rubles. However, the bridge was built equally, 540 meters each, and the headquarters was built in Heihe, while the branch was located in Blagoveshchensk.
Passenger cars will also be allowed to cross the bridge after Beijing facilitates COVID restrictions.
Previously, when there was no bridge, all trade, and transportation of people was carried out by ships. For the first time since 1995, the countries began to cooperate in the construction, although the idea of the bridge existed in the 1980s. The Chinese completed the bridge faster, and in 2019 the parts were connected. Although bridges between China and Russia have been built before. For example, they previously built a railroad between Nizhelensky and Tongjiang in the Amur region, but later suspended construction.
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