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MOSCOW, September 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s government has not chosen yet a sole contractor for building a transport crossing over the Kerch Strait, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Vedomosti published on Monday.
The prime minister did not confirm the Stroitransgaz Company would be the sole contractor in the project worth 228 billion rubles ($8.4 billion).
“Besides, the cost may be changed, though the construction will not be cheap anyway. We began discussing the project when the peninsula had a different status (part of Ukraine), and it was already clear then that the cost will be high. However, back then it was an international project, and now the project is domestic, and its implementation is most important for our people,” Medvedev said.
On September 1, the government published on the Internet a draft document on construction of the transport crossing above the Kerch Strait, which read the price would be 228.3 billion rubles and the contractor would be chosen by the government.
“We shall manage it within reasonable time, as the passenger and cargo flows to Crimea and Sevastopol will only grow,” Medvedev said.
On September 5, Russia’s Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov reported to Vladimir Putin that the work started in August to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link Crimea with the mainland. Ground work already started near the construction site, the minister said. The area is designated. It will be cleared of WWII-time shells if any are found there. The work will be done together with Defense Ministry specialists. The construction is planned to be completed by December 16, 2018, the minister of transport said.
The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating the Kerch Peninsula from Crimea in the west from the Taman Peninsula in the Krasnodar Territory in the east.