HEIHE, Heilongjiang Province, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- After 28 years of talks between China and Russia, construction has finally started on a highway bridge connecting China and Russia across the Heilongjiang River, the first between the two countries.
The main span of the bridge is 1,283 meters and links Heihe to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk.
"The bridge is an important link, and part of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. It will strengthen cooperation between the two regions," said Qin Enting, Communist Party chief of Heihe City.
The bridge will boost trade between China and Russia and China's investment in infrastructure, energy, and natural resources in Russia, said Li Jianmin, a Eastern Europe and Central Asia researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The bridge will benefit both Russia's far east development and China's revitalization of the old industrial base in northeastern provinces, according to Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute in Heilongjiang..
Costing 2.5 billion yuan (about 360 million U.S. dollars), the bridge will open in October 2019.
Passenger flow between the two cities is expected to reach 1.5 million a year by 2020, double the current figure. Cargo volume will reach three million tonnes by then, ten times today's figure.