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Coordinates: 45°16′02″N 36°33′02″E / 45.2672°N 36.5505°E / 45.2672; 36.5505 (Kerch Strait)

The new bridge follows the red line, along the Tuzla Spit and Tuzla Island. The existing ferry route is shown in blue.

The Kerch Strait Bridge, or the Crimea Bridge[1], or the Crimean Bridge (Russian: Крымский мост, translit. krímskiy most), is a pair of parallel bridges (one for vehicular traffic, one for rail) under construction by the Russian Federation, to span the Strait of Kerch between the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea and the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai in Russia; a distance of 19 km (12 miles). The current connection is by the Kerch Strait ferry between Port Kavkaz on the Chushka Spit and Port Krym.

In January 2015, the multibillion-dollar contract for the construction of the bridge was awarded to Arkady Rotenberg's SGM Group. In May 2015, construction of the bridge commenced; the road bridge is planned to open on December 18, 2018 with completion of the rail link delayed until the end of 2019.[2]

The bridge received its official name "Crimean Bridge" after an online vote in December 2017, with "Kerch Strait Bridge" taking second place.[3]



Early proposalsEdit

Following successful construction of the Indo-European Telegraph by the British government, a railroad route from England to India, through the Crimea and across Kerch Strait was considered in the 1870s but deemed too expensive.

In 1903 Tsar Nicholas II considered the idea, but dismissed it because of the Russo-Japanese War and then World War I shortly after.[4]

World War IIEdit

The idea of this bridge was first conceived by Albert Speer in early 1943.[5] He hoped that the bridge would help spearhead the German invasion of the North Caucasus, but history ruled that it would help the Wehrwacht to retreat: from January to October 1943 the retreat of the German Caucasus Army/Army Group A, took place across the Strait of Kerch. To support the retreat the German Organisation Todt (OT) had built a ropeway across the Kerch Strait with a daily capacity of 1,000 tons. On 7 March 1943 Hitler ordered the construction of a combined road and railway bridge over the Strait of Kerch within 6 months. In April 1943, the OT had started with the construction of a combined iron road and railway war-bridge across the strait of Kerch. On 1 September 1943 concentrated Soviet attacks began on the remnants of the bridge head, so that the German retreat was accelerated. At this time the new bridge was not yet completed (only one third was completed). As part of the German retreat, the Wehrmacht blasted the already completed parts of the bridge.[6]

The 4.5-kilometre (2.8 mi) bridge was actually built in the summer of 1944 after the liberation of the Crimea by the Red Army from the materials left on the site by the Wehrmacht. It was destroyed within six months by flowing ice,[7] due to the absence of groynes.

Post-war Soviet timesEdit

Since 1944, various bridge projects to span the strait have been proposed or attempted.

Since the mid 1960s the Kerch hydrounit project («Керченский гидроузел») developed here. It was a system of dams and bridges across the strait. The project was not implemented in connection with the collapse of the USSR.[8][9]

Post-Soviet timesEdit

The idea of a Kerch Strait bridge resurfaced after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but in 1994 the Russian and Ukrainian sides failed to finalize the project.[10]

In 2010, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait.[11] Russia and Ukraine signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on the construction of the bridge on 26 November 2010.[12]

Former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov was a vocal advocate for a highway bridge across the strait, expressing hope that it would bring the Crimeans closer to Russia, both economically and symbolically.[10]

The rejection of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement in November 2013 led to increased interest in the construction of a bridge between Crimea and the Taman Peninsula of Russia.[13] In late January 2014, the Ukrainian and Russian governments decided that a new joint Ukrainian-Russian company would be commissioned to handle the construction of the bridge, while the Russian state enterprise Russian Highways (Avtodor) would become responsible for the bridge in the long term.[13] Additionally, it was decided a special working group would determine the location and set the technical parameters.[13] Construction was estimated by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine to take 5 years with a cost between $1.5 and $3 billion.[13] In early February 2014, Russian Highways (Avtodor) was instructed by the First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia to work on a feasibility study to be published in 2015.[13]

Crimean crisisEdit

Following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014 amid the deterioration of the Ukraine-Russia relationship, president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would build a road-rail bridge over the strait,[14][15][16] and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a governmental decree to create a subsidiary of Avtodor to oversee the project.[17] In April, the Ukrainian government gave Russia six months notice of its withdrawal from the now-defunct bilateral Kerch Bridge agreement.[18] The Ukrainian think tank 'Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies' believes that the bridge could reduce shipping to and from Ukrainian ports on the shores of Sea of Azov by 25-30%.[19]

In January 2015, the contract for the construction of the bridge was awarded to the SGM Group, whose owner Arkady Rotenberg is reportedly a close personal friend of Putin and was internationally sanctioned in response to the Russian military involvement in Ukraine. SGM typically constructs pipelines and has no experience building bridges, according to BBC News.[20]

Design of the bridgeEdit

Kerch Strait bridge (satellite image 2017-05-04).

The Russian government's draft resolution of 1 September 2014 requires the bridge to have 4 lanes of vehicle traffic and a double-track railway.[21]

An official video from October 2015 contains a CGI concept of the bridge design, annotated with various measurements. It shows a four-lane, flat deck highway bridge running parallel with the separate two-track railway. The main span over the Kerch Strait shipping channel has a steel arch support, 227 metres wide with a 35-metre clearance above the water to allow for ships to pass under. There are three segments: from the Taman Peninsula to Tuzla Spit is 7 km; across Tuzla Island is 6.5 km; and from Tuzla Island to the Crimean Peninsula is 5.5 km (19 km total).[22]


President Putin visiting the construction site in March 2016 (video)

Construction on the bridge began in May 2015. Approximately 200 bombs from the World War II era were found in the area during pre-construction clearance.[23] Three temporary bridges were built, to facilitate access (independent of weather and currents) for main construction.[24] By October 2015, the first of the temporary bridges had been constructed, connecting Tuzla Island and Taman Peninsula.[25] By March 2017, 70% of pilings for the 12-mile road bridge were in place, and almost a third of those for a parallel railway should be completed by the end of the year.[2] The two shipping channel arches were lifted into position in August[26] and October[27] 2017.

The bridge is expected to be opened by December 2018 for testing and vehicular traffic, and to be fully operational by June 2019.[28][29]

In October 2017, National Guard of Russia Director Viktor Zolotov announced a new "maritime brigade" is being formed as part of Russia's Southern Military District to protect the bridge.[30]


  1. ^ "Crimea Bridge: A Real Exclusive, and more to come!!". 28 October 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Parfitt, Tom (15 March 2017). "Putin's road to Crimea takes shape". The Times online. Retrieved 25 March 2017.  (subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries)
  3. ^ "'Crimean Bridge' Tops Online Vote To Name Kremlin's Mega-Project". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 19 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "Мост жизни. К предистории Керченского моста". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "Crimean Bridge Measures the Span of Putin's Ambitions", from April 20, 2016
  6. ^ Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer, Chapter 19, pg. 270 (1969, English translation 1970)
  7. ^ Bologov, Petr (27 February 2017). "The bridge-long dream". Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  8. ^ Проект для моря. Vokrug sveta (in Russian). 1 December 1972. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  9. ^ На стыке двух морей (33-36 pages). Tekhnika Molodezhi (in Russian). January 1985. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Лужков присоединяет Крым к России. Kommersant (in Russian). 8 April 1999. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  11. ^ Azarov creates group for bridging the Kerch Strait, Kyiv Post (9 August 2010)
  12. ^ Russia, Ukraine to construct bridge across Kerch Strait, Kyiv Post (26 November 2010)
  13. ^ a b c d e «Автодор» приступает к подготовке проекта моста через Керченский пролив Читайте далее Vedomosti (14 February 2014)
  14. ^ "Russia green lights road and rail bridge to Crimea". RT. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Russia to Build Bridge to Crimea". RIA Novosti. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Kerch Strait bridge to be built ahead of schedule — deputy minister". ITAR-TASS. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Medvedev Signs Decree Creating Contractor for Kerch Strait Bridge Project The Moscow Times (4 March 2014)
  18. ^ "Ukraine withdraws from Kerch Strait bridge project with Russia". ITAR-TASS. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Russia's controversial Crimea bridge gets giant arch". British Broadcasting Corporation. 28 August 2017. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  20. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Putin ally to build bridge to Crimea". BBC News. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "Russian Railways Head: Kerch Strait Bridge Can be Adapted for High-Speed Trains". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  22. ^ "Russian bridge to Crimea going up at lightning speed (PHOTO, VIDEO)". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  23. ^ "200 бомб найдено в районе строительства моста через Керченский пролив". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  24. ^ "Три временных моста построят для доставки материалов на строительство Керченского перехода". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  25. ^ "Завершено строительство первого рабочего моста в Керченском проливе". 1 October 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  26. ^ "Russia installs Crimea bridge railway arch in unique operation (VIDEO)". RT. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-28. 
  27. ^ "Drone footage captures 2nd roadway arch of Crimean Bridge mounted in place". 14 October 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-15. 
  28. ^ "Construction of Kerch Bridge carried out ahead of schedule – Putin". Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  29. ^ [1][dead link]
  30. ^ "Russia's National Guard to form maritime brigade". TASS. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-26. 

Further readingEdit

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