WE REPORTED last month that Russian Railways’ plans for construction of a link to the island of Sakhalin were firming up. Head of the Sakhalin Department of Transport & Communications V Romanov confirmed last month that a bridge rather than a tunnel will be built, crossing the Tatar Strait between Cape Lazarev and the town of Pogibi, with a line built from there to Nysh on the island’s existing network. Engineering design should be complete by October, and construction time will be seven years.

Tracks are also to be laid across the Kerch Strait that links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Providing a direct link from Crimea to the city of Krasnodar, a 5 km two-level bridge is to be constructed with two tracks on one deck and a four-lane road on the other. A Kerch bridge construction company has been set up with 26% of shares owned by the Crimean government and the other 74% by the Moscow city government, which presumably has some specific benefits in mind. Our correspondent reports that work on the US$740m project is scheduled to start next year.