Ukraine media highlights Crimean bridge’s structural flaws
The Ukrainian media has again reported that the illegally built Kerch Bridge linking Russian-occupied Crimea and Krasnodar Krai in Russia is sagging and structurally unsound.
Ukrainian sources are unreliable on the issue as Kiev is involved in a low-level conflict with Moscow in which misinformation is routine. Meanwhile, Russia’s media is heavily restricted and international access to the bridge is limited, meaning reliable information on the bridge is difficult to obtain.
Russia has just released the Ukrainian sailors seized for attempting to sail near the bridge.
“It seems the bridge was created not for convenience, but to destroy everything around. There are constant incidents with it. Putin’s project has already affected the Black Sea. The bridge is sagging more and more, and the depth of the strait is decreasing, which results in huge environmental problems,” tweeted Ukrainian blogger Stantsia Krym.
The road bridge opened in May last year and the rail line on the adjacent bridge is due to open in early December.
The Russian authorities in Crimea set restrictions on the speed of Kerch Bridge trains of 20km/h, according to Ukrainian sources.
Senior Crimean government figure Mykhaylo Seleznev reportedly claimed the speed restriction was to “create competition” for airlines serving the occupied peninsula.
“This will be a serious competition for air carriers because many people will not miss the opportunity to get to the Crimea by train,” Seleznev allegedly said.
A hydrogeology engineer, Yuriy Medovar of the Institute of Water of the Russian Academy of Sciences, purportedly said the Kerch Bridge would always be vulnerable to sagging given the geological and technical circumstances.
The opening of the railway would significantly aggravate the problems and may lead to the collapse of the bridge, he said, according to Ukraine’s Obozrevatel.
“We are waiting for Putin to travel by train. He has already driven inside a Kamaz truck. Now he will travel by train. It is very interesting to see this,” Medovar reportedly said.
“The major challenge related to the sagging will be after heavy trains run over the bridge,” he added.
Medovar said the Kerch Strait, which separates Russia from the Crimean peninsula, had a “mud volcano”, which erupted on average every seven years. “It is so powerful. Of course, the bridge will collapse,” Medovar purportedly added.
How secure is the Kerch Bridge? Picture credit: Kremlin