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First highway bridge connecting China and Russia is complete

Russian officials announced Friday that construction on the first road bridge to connect Russia and China is now complete. Both countries say the bridge may allow for better relations between the two countries. 

The bridge, which connects Blagoveshchensk, Russia, and Heihe, China, is set to open next spring. According to Reuters, it will help promote an exchange of freight traffic and agricultural products. 

The $295 million project is more than 1,700 feet long and is estimated to transport 4 million metric tons of goods and 2 million Chinese tourists every year over the Amur River, according to the Moscow Times. Each country built their half of the bridge. 

The Amur region's governor said it will form "a new international transport corridor."

"It will allow us to fully reach our transit potential," he said.

According to the construction agreement, the bridge consists of both a road and a railway bridge, the latter of which was finished in March. 

"These decisions are aimed at creating better conditions for mutual exchanges, trade and economic contacts between Russia and China, for the development of a reliable and stable year-round transport connection," the agreement reads. "It will help preserve and develop the historical ethnic, family, cultural, humanitarian and economic ties between the citizens of Russia and China."

Talks about a bridge connecting the two countries began in 1988 and an agreement to connect the two cities was originally signed in 1995. Construction on the project did not begin until December 2016. 

The two countries are also expected to launch a natural gas pipeline on Monday. The "Power of Siberia" is part of a 30-year and $400 billion deal, according to Reuters. The 1,864-mile pipeline runs from gas fields in Siberia to Blagoveshchensk.

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