Russia said on Friday a 3 Km bridge promised by Vladimir Putin to demonstrate national economic revival to a 2012 summit must be built at all costs, and told Far Eastern regional officials no delay would be tolerated.
In his final live television broadcast as president, Putin promised to build the bridge joining the Pacific port of Vladivostok to Russky Island, where most events of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit will be held.
Russky is an isolated and impoverished island, typical of many areas in urgent need of modern roads and communications if the economy in Russia's Pacific region, 7 time zones from Moscow, is to flourish.
This month the director of a bridge building company in Vladivostok said it might not be possible to build the $640 million bridge in time for the summit.
On Friday the deputy director of Russia's Federal Road Agency Sergei Poleshchuk told Vladivostok officials that the bridge to Russky Island "could not be postponed".
"The project must be built by the APEC summit, whatever it takes," Poleshchuk said.
A contractor for the bridge has not yet been chosen.
Russia plans to spend more than $8 billion on APEC summit organisation and preparation in infrastructure projects seen as a rehearsal for the even larger and more expensive 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
APEC groups 21 nations in Asia and the Pacific region.
Last Mod: 25 Temmuz 2008, 15:40