CRI在线收听:Bridge to be constructed connecting China and Russia

Construction is now getting underway on a 1.3-kilometer long bridge, which will connect a Chinese border town in Heilongjiang with a Russian community on the other side of the Heilong, or "Black Dragon" River which divides the two countries.

The joint project, worth some 360 million US dollars, will see construction start this winter.

Ning Changyuan is with the Chinese construction firm which is helping build the bridge.

"By starting the construction during this season will make it easier for us to clean the mud used in the process, including the drilling mud. It won't infiltrate the soil or harm the environment, minimizing the hazards. The second reason we're starting now is because of the drift ice which normally starts around April. If we start now, we're able to avoid that."

Both the Chinese and Russian sides say the new bridge will bring economic benefits on both sides of the "Black Dragon."

Governor of Russia's Amur Region, Andrey Kozlov, says the new bridge project will also help cross-border exchanges.

"The infrastructure in transportation is one of our priorities. Both heads of state of our two countries are very supportive of this kind of work in the border areas. The bridge, once completed, will play an important role not only in the economy, but also in exchanges in various fields."

Local officials in the Chinese border city of Heihe where the bridge is being built say the project is going to help elevate a major bottle-neck in cross-border trade.

Around 700-thousand people and 300-thousand tons of goods enter or exit China via Heihe every year.

Passenger flows are to double, and cargo volumes increase by 10-fold, once the project is complete.

It's also part of a trilateral economic corridor linking China, Russia and Mongolia.

The bridge project, proposed 28-years ago, is expected to be finished in October of 2019.

For CRI, this is Li Jianhua.