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A New Bridge Across the Northern Dvina at Kotlas

by Greg Smith

The deck of the new bridge

Click either photo to enlarge it. The resulting popup window will close when you click outside it. Both photos were taken by Ellen Corey in August 2002.

The approach to the new bridge

On October 2, 2001 a new highway bridge across the Northern Dvina at Kotlas was inaugurated. It is the first permanent bridge at Kotlas for vehicular traffic.

Previously one wishing to take a car across the river at Kotlas had to take a ferry, ride piggyback on a flatbed train car, or drive over the ice in the winter. During at least one recent summer, a pontoon bridge has also been in operation.

This new bridge is 4104 feet long (four fifths of a mile) and soars 92 feet above the water. It is the only such span for autos along a 390-mile stretch of river, from Velikiy Ustyug, 40 miles south of Kotlas, to Archangel, 350 miles to the northeast. It joins a railroad bridge, which was constructed by prison labor 60 years ago.

This permanent auto bridge was first conceived in the 1970's. Construction began in 1996, but was halted intermittently due to a lack of funds. Only in 2000 and 2001 did regular funding become available.

Many distinguished guests attended the dedication, including Archangel Region Governor Anatoly Yefremov, representatives of federal ministries, and the heads of administration of Vologda and Komi, the Russian provinces adjoining the Archangel Region.

"It is hard to overestimate the importance of the bridge," said Yefremov, in addressing the assembled dignitaries. "It will link St.Petersburg, the Archangel Region, the Republic of Komi, the Komi-Perm Autonomous District, and Perm. . . . The unimpeded traffic towards the town of Kotlas, a large transportation junction, will become possible for many of the Northwest regions; thus we will get rid of annual breaks in spring and autumn during drifting of ice at the times of the freeze-up and thaw."

The bridge is one of the first links in the Northern Transport Corridor, an ambitious plan to link Perm, Syktyvkar, Archangel, and Oulu (in Finland) with new or rebuilt roads.

Principal Source: "Kotlas bridge has been solemnly put into operation in Archangels region".