How the USSR almost built a bridge in the U.S. during the Cold War. Wait, what!?

Eduard Kotlyakov/Sputnik
It could have been considered a big insult to Americans back then.

The story took place in the small town of Vulcan in the state of West Virginia in 1977. Only about 200 people lived there at the time, almost completely cut off from the "big land".

Vulcan had no transport links with other towns. People had to cross a bridge over the Tug Fork River, thus entering the state of Kentucky, before heading on their way.

However, in 1975, the old bridge collapsed. Now the only way to get to “civilization” was to take a narrow gravel path along the railroad tracks, which were used exclusively for freight transport.

This was not only inconvenient, but also extremely dangerous. One schoolboy even lost a leg while crawling under freight cars. In addition, the railroad company prohibited the use of its infrastructure.

For two years, the residents of Vulkan asked authorities to build them a bridge, but were invariably told that there was no money for it.

So, the angry and desperate people took extraordinary measures. In September 1977, they appealed to the governments of the USSR and GDR to help them build the bridge.

The appeal caused a real scandal in the United States and the Soviet Union gladly took the opportunity to embarrass its overseas rival. It announced that it would definitely help and, on December 16, 1977, Soviet correspondent Jonah Andronov visited Vulcan.

The U.S. authorities could no longer bear such humiliation. A few hours after the journalist's departure, the leadership of West Virginia and Kentucky announced a joint allocation of funds for construction - and the bridge was re-opened in 1980.

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