Inauguration of politically important Kerch bridge becomes even more distant prospect
Vladimir Putin’s ambitious aim to build a road-rail bridge over the Kerch Strait to connect the Russian mainland with the annexed Crimea by December 2018 may see another delay.
According to Russian Kommersant newspaper, the second consecutive tender to select a general contractor for the construction of the railway approaches to the bridge failed as no applications were submitted.
The Russian government plans to start automobile traffic through the bridge in December 2018 and launch a railroad connection in a year after that – in December 2019.
According to the conditions of the tender, the construction of the railway to the Kerch bridge is to be completed by November 2019. What’s more, the contract was estimated at some RUB 17 billion [USD 280 mln], but representatives of constructions industry believe that the price is too low. If the tender does not take place in the first quarter of 2017, “administrative decisions” will be required to deliver the project, analysts say.
Experts explain that apart from its political importance, the project is extremely difficult to realize due to high seismic activity in the region. But the main reason, according to Russian media, is that a potential contractor is very likely to be subjected to international sanctions related to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
On December 20, the U.S. targeted more Russian businessmen and companies with sanctions, including two firms involved in the construction of the Kerch bridge.
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