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About 21,000 vehicles crossed Crimean Bridge on the first day after its opening

May 17, 10:47 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

The Crimean Bridge is the longest in Russia and one of the largest in Europe

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© Valeriy Matytsin/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, May 17. /TASS/. About 21,000 vehicles have crossed the Crimean Bridge in both directions on the first day since its opening which took place at 05:30 Moscow time on Wednesday, the Taman Directorate for Federal Roads Management at the Federal Road Agency said on Thursday.

The motorway section of the bridge that linked the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia was due to be opened in December 2018, but it was completed half a year ahead of the established deadline. The opening ceremony for the bridge was held on Tuesday and was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Traffic on the bridge started in the early hours of Wednesday. Hundreds of car drivers and bikers waited for the launch from the Kuban and Crimean shores.

"From 05:30 May 16 to 05:30 May 17, about 10,700 transport vehicles went to Kerch and about 10,000 went to Taman… The movement is regular," the report says.

The traffic was the most intensive in the early and late hours, with about 25-30% of the motorway section occupied by vehicles, the press service noted. The traffic flow began to subside after the midnight, and about 200 cars per hour crossed the Crimean Bridge at nighttime, the Taman Directorate for Federal Roads Management said.

There were four evacuations in the first 24 hours following the opening of the section. Two cars were evacuated, because one of them had broken down and the other had run out of gas. "Two more cars [were evacuated] in the early hours of morning on May 17 (both had been moving to the bridge from Taman and had stopped because of the shortage of gasoline). The evacuations did not affect the traffic flow and the cars were immediately removed from the bridge," the press service said.

The record-breaking bridge

The Crimean Bridge linked the Kerch Peninsula (Crimea) with the Taman Peninsula (Krasnodar Region). Its construction was prompted by Crimea’s reintegration with Russia in 2014. Russia launched the construction in February 2016. The total cost of the project is 228 bln rubles ($3.6 bln). It is being bankrolled from the federal budget under the federal target program "Social and Economic Development of The Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by 2020"

The Crimean Bridge is the longest in Russia and one of the largest in Europe with a length of 19 km. The construction of the railroad section of the bridge is underway and is planned to be completed in 2019.

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