The Crimea Bridge was formerly known as the Kerch Strait Bridge. The original bridge spans the Kerch Strait from the Chushka Spit in Russia's Taman Peninsula to Kerch in former Ukraine's the Crimean Peninsula. The bridge also witnessed political changes in the Crimea peninsula for over a century.
In the past, there was a lack of bridges over the strait, traffic between the two sides of the strait was mainly through car ferries between the port of Kafkaz in Russia and the port of Krem in the Republic of Crimea. There was also a rail ferry service in the early days, but it was later suspended due to technical problems.
The Crimean Bridge has been built, damaged, and rebuilt in history. In 2014, the President of Russia, Putin, requested that a new Crimea Bridge should be completed in 2018. Let's find out more interesting facts and details about this incredible long bridge.
Description of the Crimea Bridge Size
In 2016, Russia began to build a sea-crossing bridge plan. The technical difficulty of building the bridge is very high, the strait is in the seismic zone, and there is a long flood season. In the end, a Dutch engineering company provided technical support. The new Crimea Bridge is a sea-crossing bridge with a roadway and railway. The bridge connects the western Krasnodar Krai and the eastern Crimean Peninsula in Russia.
On May 15, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of the road section of the Crimea Bridge. He drove the truck across the bridge. On December 23, 2019, the railway section of the Crimea Bridge was officially opened to traffic. Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended the ceremony and crossed the Kerch Strait by train.
Dimensions of the Crimea Bridge
The bridge spans the Kerch Strait with a total length of 19 kilometers, and the cross-sea part is 7.5 kilometers, making it the longest bridge in Europe. It is also Russia's largest and most expensive road-rail dual-use bridge. The road section is a two-way four-lane road with a length of 16.9 kilometers and a main span of 227 meters; the railway section is 18.1 kilometers long. It is worth mentioning the navigable channel of the bridge is only 35 meters above sea level, and this height prevents almost all large ships from entering the Azov Sea.
|Total length||19 km|
|Railway bridge length||18.1 km|
|Roadway bridge length||16.9 km|
|Longest span||227 m|
|Clearance below||35 m|
|Number of lanes||4|
Background of the Crimea Bridge
The bridge was first conceived by German architect Albert Speer during World War II in 1943 to accelerate the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the Caucasus campaign. However, before the bridge was completed, the Crimean Peninsula was liberated by the Soviet Red Army in October of the same year, and the Soviet Union took over the project. The 4.5-kilometer railway bridge was completed in November 1944. But the piers were damaged by ice floes after three months due to the lack of breakwater protection. Reconstruction plans have since been shelved due to a lack of funding and political change.
Crimea and Sevastopol joined the Russian Federation in March following a referendum. Ukraine has cut off supplies to Crimea, and the only way to get to Crimea from the mainland of Russia is by air or sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered all efforts to improve traffic between the Crimean Peninsula and Russia and subsequently decided to start construction of the Crimea Bridge in March 2015.
The existence of the Crimea Bridge is not only to communicate with Russia and Crimea but also to cut off the outlet of the Kerch Strait. The bridge occupies an excellent strategic position. Russia's control of the Crimea Bridge is equivalent to closing the Kerch Strait, which is eastern Ukraine's estuary; Ukraine's military bases and commercial terminals along the Sea of Azov will also be under Russian control. Russia's occupation of Crimea deteriorated relations with Western countries, and many political commentators saw it as a military-political adventure. But others disagree, arguing that the Crimea Bridge shows the world Russia's resolve and strength of solidarity.