GURZUF, June 24. /TASS/. The Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Crimea with the mainland Russia will definitely be implemented, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the children vacationing at the international youth holiday center Artek located on the Black Sea peninsula.
Putin met with holidaying teenagers who told the president about excursions to the resort of Kerch, where they visited construction sites of the Kerch Strait Bridge.
"Did you like it?" Putin asked.
"It was an absolutely breathtaking trip," a teenage girl from an Artek camp said. "After that trip we all came back (to the camp) and everyone said that they were proud of Russia since after Crimea’s reunification with Russia, this gigantic and great project has been implemented."
"Well, we have not done it yet, but I am sure we will carry it through," the president said.
The 19-kilometer bridge across the Kerch Strait is a road-rail bridge intended to span the Strait of Kerch between the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea and the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai. The project will include construction of a 2-lane railroad and a 4-lane highway. The total cost of construction is expected to amount to 228 bln rubles ($3.54 bln). It includes the costs of the project contractor Stroygazmontazh and ordering customer - the Federal Road Agency department Taman. Motor vehicle traffic across the bridge will open in December 2018 while the bridge’s railway segment will start its operation in 2019.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities who took power amid riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaty on March 18, 2014.