In a drive to promote tourism, workers on Thursday broke ground on the world’s first international cableway over the Heilongjiang River, which forms the border between China and Russia.
The cable cars will run between Heihe, a city in Heilongjiang Province in the extreme northeast of China, and the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk, both of which have a population a little over 200,000. It will be 972m long, with carriages able to carry 80 people.
Relations between China and Russia have improved in recent years, but there has been little interaction between the populations of the two cities. The $87m cableway is intended to help each get to know the other.
Qin Enting, secretary of the Heihe Communist Party, commented: "A cableway will be a safe and convenient shortcut for tourists to cross the Heilongjiang River. Riders will also get a glimpse of the unique views of both cities."
It is expected that the system will become operational in the first quarter of 2021.
China and Russia are increasing border links through several infrastructure projects, including the Tongjiang Railway Bridge, the main construction of which is complete, and the Heihe-Blagoveshchensk road bridge, which will open soon (see Further reading).
The plan is to build a network in the border area that connects China’s Belt and Road initiative with Russia’s Vision Eurasian Union.
Image: Boats on the Heilongjiang (Amur) River (Public domain)