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Kerch Strait Bridge - History

In 1899, the work of the son of Dmitri Mendeleev was published in St. Petersburg - “The project to raise the level of the Sea of Azov by the dam of the Kerch Strait. Compiled by Vladimir Dmitrievich Mendeleev. Posthumous edition, with 2 maps and 5 cuts attached.” Vladimir Dmitrievich was the first person to take up this issue in detail, and clearly saw all the advantages and prospects of such a structure. A dam in the Kerch Strait would turn the Sea of Azov into a deep inland Russian sea.

In 1901, the British government considered a project to build a railway of unparalleled length: from London to Delhi! With its creation, it was planned to build two bridges: one, a giant, across the English Channel and the second, a little less, across the Kerch Strait. But the beautiful project rested, as is often the case, at the lack of funds for its implementation. As a result, he, already drawn up in the form of drawings and memoranda, lay down under the felt.

But the idea to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait did not die. Tsar Nicholas II became interested in her in 1903. According to his instructions, the best Russian engineers have now developed the bridge project. But with the beginning of the Great War, it was not until the realization of ambitious plans.

However, in the 30s, during the period of industrialization of the country, the “great leader” Joseph Stalin recalled the project. This time, along with the bridge, they also wanted to reconstruct the adjacent railways. The highway was supposed to pass from the south of Ukraine from Kherson through the Crimea, then across the bridge across the Kerch Strait, along the Taman Peninsula, with access to the Novorossiysk area and then along the entire Black Sea coast of the Caucasus to Poti. Domestic factories at that time could not cope with the release of all the metal parts necessary for the construction of a giant bridge.

The construction of a full-fledged bridge was indeed in Hitler’s plans, but the forces of the 2nd Ukrainian Front prevented their implementation. The Fuhrer, not waiting for the fall of the Soviet Union, was going to build a transcontinental railway from Munich to India through the Crimea and the Caucasus. The details of the memoirs of the Minister of Arms of the 3rd Reich Albert Speer: “In the spring of 1943, Hitler demanded to begin construction of a five-kilometer bridge across the Kerch Strait. Here we built a cableway, which was launched on June 14 (1943) and delivered thousands of tons of cargo every day. This was enough for the needs of the defense of the 17th Army. However, Hitler did not abandon his plan for a breakthrough to Persia through the Caucasus. Work was carried out continuously, and relative to them, since the winter of 1943, instructions came one after another. The last directive: the bridge across the Kerch Strait should be completed before August 1, 1944 ... ”

During the war years, in 1944, for the first time in the USSR, a temporary bridge was built over the Kerch Strait over 4 km long. The first, 4.5 km long, connected the shores of the Caucasus and the Crimea six months after the liberation of the peninsula. Railroad Red Army built it for 150 days. The first pile was driven July 1, 1944, the first train crossed November 3. On February 20, 1945, under the pressure of ice, half of the pillars of the bridge collapsed, dragging spans with it. A week earlier, a specially guarded lettered train managed to pass through it, during which the Soviet delegation returned to Moscow from the Yalta Conference. The first Kerch Bridge lasted four months.

First Kerch Bridge 1944 First Kerch Bridge 1944

After the Great Patriotic War, the country slowly came to life after the war, and engineers have already designed a new bridge, taking into account all the mistakes and the use of options ahead of its time. The bridge was supposed to connect the Chushka Spit and the coast of Crimea. It was planned that the bridge would be a two-level combined - a very courageous decision for the 1940s. At one end there would be a stele with the Soviet coat of arms. On the other side traveller would meet Comrade Stalin, and look at his astute eyes. When the draft was completed, it was reported by Deputy Minister I.D. Goceride Ze (as he said): “This, Comrade Stalin, will be the“ Tsar-bridge”, to which Iosif Vissarionovich replied: “We overthrew the Tsar in 1917".

First Kerch Bridge 1944 First Kerch Bridge 1944

The first modern projects of the bridge date back to almost 1993, but construction plans came closer to reality only in 2007, against the backdrop of the right to hold the Olympics in Sochi by Russia. The bridge would reduce the road between the Crimea and the Caucasus by 400 kilometers and, as expected, could help strengthen relations between the countries. In April 2008, the project of the bridge across the Kerch Strait reached the government level. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov spoke about the beginning of cooperation with Ukraine on the construction of a bridge. Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko said that work on the project of transport passage through the strait should begin in the coming days. She also noted that joint activities on parity conditions to ensure the safety of navigation in the Kerch Strait and the Azov-Black Sea basin.

The warming of relations between Russia and Ukraine gave another and rather unexpected fruit. On the day of cosmonautics, the foreign ministers of the two countries spoke about the beginning of the demarcation of the land border in the disputed Kerch Strait, and on 21 April 2010, Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovych agreed to build a bridge between the Crimea and Russian territory. The main incomprehensible point was the question of who generally needs this bridge. The fact is that Kerch could hardly be called a particularly busy transport hub of Crimea, as well as the port of Kavkaz, located on the Russian side of the strait. According to critics of the construction of the crossing, there was no need for it, since even ferries with their limited capacity (8 trips a day) were far from being loaded to their fullest capacity. The exchange of goods between Russia and Ukraine in this area was not very busy, and there were also more convenient transportation hubs.

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Page last modified: 29-11-2018 11:43:12 ZULU