The construction of the Kerch Strait bridge, a road-rail bridge to span the Strait of Kerch between the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea and the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai, is now facing funding problems, as payments to the contractor Stroygazmontazh of billionaire Arkady Rotenberg being delayed since February, Forbes reports.
The payment of about USD 1 billion (RUB 65.4 billion) earmarked for this year has got "hung up" due to cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, while the amount of advance payment has been used up, a source told Forbes.
Stroygazmontazh company is not able to continue with the construction of the Kerch bridge according to the schedule, nor is the company able to invest in expensive construction equipment due to delayed payments for the work already performed, company's CEO Andrey Kirilenko stated in a letter addressed to First Deputy Transport Minister of Russia Yevgeny Dietrich and Head of the Federal Road Agency Roman Starovoyt.
The payment issue has been dragging since February 2016 after the construction project had received a favorable conclusion of the state expert review, Kirilenko argues in the letter.
"The situation regarding the construction of the facility has become extremely urgent," Kirilenko said, adding that further delays in amending the government resolution on the construction of the Kerch bridge dated January 30, 2015, were unacceptable.
According to Kirilenko, Stroygazmontazh has already involved more than 150 companies, 2,200 construction workers and more than 220 pieces of equipment into the construction while the company's own resources have already been exhausted. Representatives of Stroygazmontazh have not yet responded to Forbes' inquiry.
The bridge to link Russia's mainland with annexed Black Sea peninsula. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014. The seziure remains internationally unrecognised.