28 December 2016

    Construction of a Russian–Chinese cross-border aerial tramway connecting the cities of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe is set to begin in April 2017, the Governor of Amur Region Alexander Kozlov told RIA Novosti.

    “The aerial tramway is currently in the planning phase, with construction work slated to begin in April 2017”, said Kozlov. He emphasized that work on the project is being carried out strictly according to the schedule approved by the Russian and Chinese transport ministries at a meeting in Moscow in November 2016.

    A border crossing for 2.5 million people per year

    In the words of the Governor, the cross-border aerial tramway will be the only one in the world with passport and visa controls. The new Blagoveshchensk 1–Heihe border crossing was established in early November as part of the project.

    “The border crossing is a legally and technologically inseparable component of the aerial tramway. The design capacity of this border crossing is 2.5 million people per year”, said Kozlov, noting that the ‘cable’ will enable a year-round connection between the two countries, regardless of the season.

    Travel time from the Russian side to the Chinese bank of the Amur River via the aerial tramway will be a maximum of 5–6 minutes. The route will be 768 metres in length, with two lines enabling up to 1,800 passengers to travel per hour.
    Currently, motor vessels, buses, or hovercraft travel between the two banks, depending on the season.

    Infrastructure for the ‘Golden Mile’

    The aerial tramway will be part of the Amur tourism and recreational cluster and is set to become the key facility in the ‘Golden Mile’ project. The ‘Golden Mile’ project is a 42-hectare fill on the bank of the Amur River where there are plans to establish several functional zones: business, cultural and entertainment, public, and commercial. Private investors will build the facilities on the reclaimed land, but it will still be necessary to create infrastructure.

    Nevertheless, emphasized Kozlov, the first ‘Golden Mile’ project, the cross-border aerial tramway, is being implemented, and the design is being completed.
    “The investor in the aerial tramway from the Russian side is ZED Development. We are also working with potential investors on the other projects”, said Kozlov.

    The Amur Region authorities predict that the ‘Golden Mile’, the aerial tramway, and the Blagoveshchensk–Heihe bridge across the Amur River, construction of which began on 24 December, should increase tourist traffic from China to 1 million tourists per year, and annual spending by Chinese tourists on the Russian side is expected to be USD 1 billion. In 2015, Amur Region became the third most popular region in Russia for tourists from China, behind only Moscow and Primorsky Territory.