MOSCOW, March 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev has not ruled out that money from the Russian National Welfare Fund may be used to build a bridge the Kerch Strait bridge.
“The proposal on the construction of a 4.2-kilometer long bridge had earlier been considered with the Ukrainian side, the agreement was signed last December,” the minister said in an interview to the Kommersant daily. “The design estimate documentation for the construction of a bridge across the Strait of Kerch, according to the decision of the Russian government, should be finalized by the state-run company Rosavtodor by November 1, 2014.” “The construction period is two years. I do not rule out that money from the National Welfare Fund may be used for the implementation of this strategic and undoubtedly paying project,” said Slyunyayev, without specifying the amount of the funds.
According to previous Itar-Tass reports, creating a transport corridor that will link Crimea and Russia’s Taman Peninsula will make it possible to increase rail freight volume and optimize the trains’ travel time. The bridge is to considerably cut the transport routes around the Black Sea, accelerate the transportation time on the route from the European Union to Caucasus. For example, the Odessa - Baku route will be cut by 400 kilometers, Sochi - Simferopol route — by 700 kilometers. The project will make it possible to link the resort zones of Western Ukraine, Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson, Crimea, Sochi with a link to Baku.
According to Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov, the project cost might exceed 50 billion rubles ($1.37 billion).