(The Moscow Times) – Russia’s state-run rail company has allocated 1 billion rubles ($17 million) to connect the island of Sakhalin to the Russian mainland in a grand infrastructure bid that could end in Japan.
The railroad connection will be some 580 kilometers long and will connect Selikhino in Khabarovsk to Nysh, a village with roughly 500 residents, on Sakhalin.
The project, which could include a tunnel, is expected to cost some 500 billion rubles ($8.5 billion).
Plans have also been floated to build another bridge connecting Sakhalin to Hokkaido, in Japan. Relations between the two countries have been strained over a chain of islands in the western Pacific, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia. The planned bridge is seen as a symbol of peace.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov says the Sakhalin Bridge project would begin as early as in 2018, the state-run TASS news agency reports.
Russia is also planning next year to open a bridge between Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and the Russian mainland.