Russia, Azerbaijan Inaugurate New Bridge over Samur River

Officials from the governments in Baku and Moscow inaugurated a new bridge across the Samur River on Tuesday, hailing the advantages of faster and more convenient trade provided by the project, Azertag reported.

The cross-border trade between Azerbaijan and Russia has been challenged by a deteriorated highway bridge that linked the two countries over the Samur border river since the late 1950s when both nations were part of the Soviet Union. The problem is now gone thanks to a new bridge that was launched on Tuesday and replaced the obsolete facility, said Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev, who was joined by Russia’s Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin at the opening ceremony.

“This is a project with a long history, and it was not so easy to develop,” Oreshkin said at the opening ceremony, according to local media reports. “There were problems, queues, which came up due to undeveloped infrastructure. And when the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visited Sochi in September last year, final agreements were reached and now, this work ends with such a wonderful bridge.”

Baku and Moscow came to a consensus over the bridge’s construction in 2013, but the ground for the new structure was broken two years ago. The construction of the $21.5 million bridge was sponsored under a 50/50 partnership agreement signed by the governments of Russia and Azerbaijan. It has replaced an obsolete existing structure that was built and commissioned in 1957 during the Soviet Union’s reign.

The five-span bridge is 325.3 meters (356 yards) long and 17.3 meters (19 yards) wide. It stretches from the Samur customs checkpoint in Azerbaijan to the Yarag-Gazmalar checkpoint in the Maharramkand region of Russia’s Dagestan Republic. The facility consists of two highways and one pedestrian lane. Two lanes will be open to traffic regularly, while the third reserve lane will come online only during the rush hours.