Building of bridge between Sakhalin, Russian mainland could begin in 2015

The construction of a bridge linking the island of Sakhalin with the Russian mainland could begin in 2015, the deputy chief of the Sakhalin Region administration, Sergei Khotochkin, told the press on Tuesday.

"This project is part of three government programs: the strategy for the development of transport infrastructure in the Russian Federation before 2015, the strategy for the development of railways in the Russian Federation before 2030, and the strategy for the socioeconomic development of the Far East and Trans-Baikal before 2025," Khotochkin said.

Out of these three documents, only one of the projects already has budgetary financing - the transport infrastructure development program - which has money built in for 2015. Design work is to have been done by then, and in 2015 construction should commence, Khotochkin said.

During the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok, Russian presidential aide Igor Levitin, who oversees the country's transport system, said the bridge project furthers Russia's national interests and definitely will be carried out. "And Levitin said that the practical realization of the bridge will begin right after the building of the Trans-Siberian [railroad] Kuznetsky Tunnel," Khotochkin said.

Also during the summit, the presidential envoy for the Far East Region and Russia's minister for the development of the Far East, Viktor Ishayev, described the building of the Sakhalin-mainland bridge as a necessity, Khotochkin said. Ishayev also said that an oil refinery has to be built on Sakhalin. He said that the Far East - Trans-Baikal socioeconomic development strategy contains a project for an energy bridge between Sakhalin and Japan - the resource base for which could be coal from the western coast of Sakhalin.

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