Authorities in Russia’s Samara Region are ready to begin construction of a 4km-long (2.5 miles) bridge across the Volga; it is the first part of an ambitious international traffic corridor linking Europe with Western China.
The bridge will cost 120.8 billion rubles (€1.6 billion or $1.8 billion), according to the latest version of the construction agreement.
Half of that sum will be allocated as a capital grant from the regional budget, the rest of the financing will be raised by the investor, Obkhod Togliatti (Togliatti bypass). The bridge will be part of the new highway linking Moscow and Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan republic.
The new road will greatly reduce travel time from Moscow to Kazan, as well as to another large city in Central Russia – Samara – from the current 16 to 8 hours, project papers state.
Construction is set to begin later this year, and the bridge is scheduled to become operational by 2024. It is thought it could be built by the Mostotrest company, which is owned by Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, but that information has not yet been confirmed by authorities.
In total, the project will involve building 96km (60 miles) of road and 3.75km (2.4 miles) of the bridge. The project is part of the Europe-Western China international transport corridor, commissioned by President Vladimir Putin.
Investors plan to charge a motorway toll, with payments ranging from 200 rubles ($3), for cars less than two meters high, and up to 1,200 rubles ($18.20) for vehicles taller than 2.6 meters depending on the number of axles.
The new bridge will eventually take the baton from the Crimea Bridge to become Russia’s most ambitious infrastructure project. The arterial route linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia had its first train line completed last month, while the motorway part of it has been operational since May. At 19km long (11.9 miles), the Crimean Bridge is the longest in Europe.