China and Russia have built the first road bridge between the two countries, connecting the trading cities Heihe and Blagoveshchensk.
The bridge, which runs over the Amur river/Heilongjiang river, is part of a 12.4 mile highway project aimed at boosting economic links between China and Russia.
Measuring 1,284 metres long and 14.5 metres wide, it is expected to carry more than 3m tonnes of cargo, a 10-fold increase on existing traffic.
The Chinese portion of the bridge was designed and built by state-owned construction firm Long Jian Road & Bridge, a subsidiary of Heilongjiang Province Construction Group.
Steel girders that can withstand temperatures as low as minus 60C were used by Chinese and Russian builders, together with 60,000 sets of steel bolts with ‘high weatherability’, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
The project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) but was initially proposed in 1988. Construction started in 2016 and is scheduled to finish by the end of the year.
Alexander Kozlov, minister for the development of the Russian Far East, said in June that the bridge “should be fully constructed in December 2019” and in operation by April 2020.
“This is not just a new transport route between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe, it will certainly give a powerful impetus to the development of trade relations and tourism,” he added.
A railway bridge between Tongjiang in northeast China and Nizhneleninskoye in Russia was constructed across the Amur river and completed in March 2019.
Meanwhile, under the BRI China’s government donated 136 different items of agricultural equipment to Ethiopia to boost agriculture in the country.
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