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NARVINSKY TUNNEL, Primorye Territory, October 9 (Itar-Tass) - Russian presidential chief of staff Sergey Ivanov has reviewed progress in building a tunnel under a busy motor road that will let Far Eastern leopards safely move about their habitat. The Narvinsky tunnel is being built at the 76th km of Khasan-Razdolnoye motor road.
Primorye Deputy Governor Vladimir Balan said about 300 meters of the 575-meter tunnel had been finalized so far. The tunnel is being driven from either end: 215 meters and 70 meters of it have been completed.
“The tunnel is to be commissioned next August,” said Balan.
“I would like to visit the opening ceremony, if my schedule allows,” responded Ivanov. “In fact, this will be the first ecological tunnel in Russia,” he added and recommended inviting ecologists to the ceremony.
Asked about financing and construction problems, Balan said the project faced no financial constraints. The soil has turned out not as hard as the builders had expected, but this issue has been resolved technically.
As the head of the Far Eastern Leopard Conservation Program, Ivanov in 2010 issued personal instructions to start building the Narvinsky tunnel under the regional 216-kilometer motor road Khasan-Razdolnoye, linking the region’s border areas with the Far Eastern Railway stations, which also serves as a transport artery towards China and North Korea and two sea ports - Zarubino and Posyet.
The 76th kilometer of the road near the Narvinsky Pass in the region’s southwest lies in a narrow area between the Land of the Leopard national park’s specially protected territories - the Leopard Sanctuary on the right hand side and the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve on the left hand side.