Russia to fix Kerch bridge to Crimea “by next July”

The completed Kerch road bridge in 2018 with the rail bridge still under construction on the left (Kremlin/CC BY 4.0)
A document published on the Russian government’s website has said that repairs to the Kerch bridge that connects the Crimean Peninsula with the Caucasus will be completed by 1 July, Ukrainian Pravda news site reports.

The bridge was damaged by a bomb explosion on 8 October, killing four people and causing a section of one of the two carriageways to collapse. The railway line that runs alongside the two road causeways was also damaged. Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack, a claim denied by Kyiv.

A contract to repair the bridge has been offered to Irkutsk-based contractor Nizhneangarsktransstroy.

The 19km bridge, the longest in Europe, is a vital supply line to Russian forces in southern Ukraine.

Marat Khusnullin, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, said in a news conference on 10 October, two days after the attack, that two-way traffic had been restored on one of the bridge’s causeways, and some 150 people were employed around the clock on preliminary repairs.

He added: “We are inspecting the railway tracks, and preliminarily, we see that we will need to replace two spans, but the Crimean Railway restored both freight and passenger service along one track on the first day … Lorries and buses are being transported by ferry. We are stepping up this alternative.”

He also said repair work was being carried out on 500km of road in the “new territories” of the Donbas, which Russia has now annexed. “We are planning to be finished in November or December, including 180 of the 359km of this alternative route.”

The construction of the bridge, which cost $3.7bn, began after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Russian contractor Stroygazmontazh began work in 2016 and completed it in 2018.

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