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Feasibility study for construction of Kerch bridge due by October 1

April 23, 2014, 21:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Field civil engineering surveys sufficient for choosing and designing the types of crossing will be carried out on land and at sea before the start of June

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

MOSCOW, April 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The final civil engineering survey, feasibility and financial feasibility studies necessary for concluding a contract for designing and building a bridge crossing over the Strait of Kerch are to be completed by October 1, 2014, the press service of the Russian Transport Ministry said after a meeting of an inter-departmental working group.

“Expenses for the construction of a crossing will be included in the 2015-2018 federal budgets. Various options for attracting private investments will also be considered,” the Russian Transport Ministry said.

Field civil engineering surveys sufficient for choosing and designing the types of crossing will be carried out on land and at sea before the start of June. The findings made during the previous surveys will also be analyzed, Sergei Kelbakh, the board chairman of the Avtodor state company responsible for the construction, repairs and maintenance of roads, said.

Avtodor’s sister company, TPKP, is to submit its options for the type of crossing, including a bridge crossing, a bridge crossing combined with railways, separate automobile and railway bridges or automobile and railway tunnels, soon.

In June, an inter-departmental working group is expected to draw the final conclusion on the type of route and crossing and announce the construction’s estimated cost, the Russian Transport Ministry said.

Avtodor has been receiving technical and other proposals on the bridge construction from organizations and individuals.

“We have more than 80 proposals, including almost 5,000 which we have received over the past week,” the press service of the Russian Transport Ministry quoted Sergei Kelbakh as saying.

A special task group set up at Avtodor is studying all the incoming proposals, the most interesting of which are sent to an expert group for further consideration.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development is planning to allocate 659 billion rubles (approximately $19.5 billion) for Crimea’s development in 2014-2017, including 155 billion rubles (over 4.3 billion rubles) for the construction of the Kerch bridge.

Growing tourist flows to Crimea make the construction of a bridge over the Strait of Kerch particularly urgent.

Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky on Wednesday urged the government to create conditions for increasing tourist flows into Crimea.

“Let me tell you that a return ticket to Crimea costs 7,500 rubles. They are already available on the open market,” Medinsky said at a meeting of the Culture Ministry’s board on Wednesday.

“It is cheaper than a charter flight to Turkey,” Medinsky said, urging tour operators to promote simple package tours like “Crimea for 7 days” or “Crimea for 10 days” similar to classical tours to Italy.

Dmitry Amunts, the deputy head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, in turn, said that they expected 3 million Russians to spend their vacation in Crimea this year. He said that about 4 million Russians, of whom 3 million were vacationers, visited Turkey annually.

“We are working in close contact with tour operators, state corporations and all carriers,” Amunts said.

An All-Russia Tourist Center, that will start working this week, will enable about 160 tour operators to receive up to 5,000 calls from potential buyers simultaneously.

“In case of Crimea, any phone call from a vacationer who wants to have a rest on the peninsula can be transferred directly to a health improvement center, a holiday home or a tourism company approved by us (the Federal Agency for Tourism),” Amunts explained.

The agency has sent 157 experts and tourism companies employees to Crimea this week. They will try to adapt the conditions of Crimean holiday homes and health improvement facilities to modern requirements and make them suitable for receiving tourists.

“The challenge is serious. An average packaged tour to Turkey, Egypt and Greece, including a week of recreation, accommodation, food and air transfer, costs 31,000 rubles while a similar package to Crimea will cost 25,000 rubles,” Amunts said.

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