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$1.8Bln Sakha Bridge Enters Design Phase

Sakha republic leader Yegor Borisov has said after meeting Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov that work has begun on the design of a bridge across the Lena River.

The 55 billion ruble ($1.8 billion) bridge will span more than 3 kilometers and have two lanes to connect Yakutsk with the left bank of the Lena, according to preliminary parameters described in a presentation by the Federal Road Agency, Vedomosti reported Monday.

The bridge to Russky Island in Vladivostok, which was built for the APEC summit that the city hosted in September, cost 35.4 billion rubles. It also runs for about 3 kilometers but has four lanes.

The Sakha project will also require construction of 15 kilometers of access roads from existing federal and local highways.

The road agency, which usually allocates federal money for this type of construction, aims to cover 20 percent of the bridge costs by attracting private investment.

The company that wins the bidding to build the bridge will have to complete construction by 2018 and maintain the bridge through 2030. The government will pay an annual maintenance fee that will total 11.6 billion rubles over the course of 2019-2030.

Three major construction contractors — Transstroi, Most and Mostovik — said they were interested in bidding, Vedomosti reported. A spokesman for construction firm Mostotrest said the company would decide whether it would bid after studying the terms.

Yakutsk should develop in order to provide for the growth of the resource-rich Sakha republic, said Bulat Stolyarov, chief of consulting firm IPR Group, Vedomosti reported.

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