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Kerch Strait bridge to be built ahead of schedule — deputy minister

March 19, 2014, 17:07 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

"We must be aware of a certain resistance from the Ukrainian side to our direct connection," Deputy Transport Minister Sergei Aristov noted

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View of the Kerch Strait (archive)

View of the Kerch Strait (archive)

© ITAR-TASS / Ivan Zhuravlev

ST. PETERSBURG, March 19. /ITAR-TASS/. The bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect Russia with Crimea would be built ahead of the initial schedule of three years following Crimea’s accession to Russia, Russia’s Deputy Transport Minister Sergei Aristov told reporters on Wednesday.

“The timeframe will be maximally shortened in the present conditions,” he said in reply to an Itar-Tass query, saying it was number one project among transport tasks facing Russia after Crimea’s accession.

“We must be aware of a certain resistance from the Ukrainian side to our direct connection, we have no direct border rather than across the Kerch Strait,” he said. The deputy minister said negotiations on the bridge construction had continued for the past 10-15 years, but all previous authorities of Ukraine had dragged feet on the project.

The process got a boost in October-November 2013, “we practically signed an agreement then, and at the present moment it has already become a matter of crucial importance,” Aristov said.

“I believe the term will be maximally reduced. We will have an exact contractor and an exact investor, and this means that lengthy discussions will be shortened,” he said.

The project worth about $3 billion would be implemented in private-state partnership, he said. On Tuesday, the “Transport Corridor across the Kerch Strait” affiliate of Russian Highways State Company AVTODOR announced a tender for engineering survey for the bridge, which will cost 384 million rubles. More than 10 companies have already snowed interest in the tender.

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