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Norway delays bridge-building to Russia on road to Crimea

Illustration: The new 270 meters long bridge over the mouth of the Pasvik river leads traffic into the first tunnel on E105 between Kirkenes and Murmansk.

Russia works seven days a week with new highway to the border, but the Norwegian Public Roads Administration today announced that the new highway on their side will not open before 2017.

Facts

E105

The highway is part of the International E-road network, which is a series of main roads in Europe. The 4,620 km long E105 starts from Hesseng, (just south of Kirkenes), Norway and runs along Russia’s M18, M10, M2: Ukraine’s M20, M29, and M18 to Yalta, Crimea (disputed territory). Russians call this the Crimea Highway (Крымское шоссе). Major cities along the road are Kirkenes, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk, St. Petersburg, Valday, Moscow, Belgorod, Kharkiv, Simferopol and Yalta.

Source: Wikipedia

It is a juridical process related to the contract for the new bridge to cross the Pasvik River outlet that delays the process.

The company first awarded the contract is now said by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration not to hold the right qualifications to build the bridge. The contract is for that reason given to Skanska, another company participating in the tender.

The bridge-building is delayed with a year, so the 270 million Norwegian kroner (€33,2 million) road project will not be opened before 2017, a year later than first planned.

The Public Road Administration says all other parts of the road construction, including a new tunnel is on schedule and will be ready by 2016, but can’t be opened because the bridge is not there.

Today’s road is of bad quality and goes through a residential area. The old bridge is too narrow for two trucks to meet.

Construction work on the new highway both on the Norwegian and Russian side of the border has been going on for years already, and parts are already opened; in 2013 from the Russian town of Zapolyarny towards Gulfstream and on the Norwegian side, from the border to the Pasvik River.

A total of 3,6 billion roubles (€46 million) of Russian federal money will be spent on building the new road from the border-zone check-point towards the actual Russian check-point at Borisoglebsk. Construction work goes on seven days a week.

The road now being upgraded to highway standards in the Norwegian, Russian borderland is part of E105, Europe’s longest north-south highway. Starting at Hesseng outside Kirkenes, the E105 goes all the way south to Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula by the Black Sea.

Read also: New bridge for cooperation, not explosives.