Russky Bridge: Russia’s Billion-Dollar Vanity Bridge

Jan 6, 2016 3 comments

Throughout the history of civilization, bridges have been constructed to connect cities across waterways and over unfavorable terrain so that trade and empires could flourish. But bridges also provide opportunities for cities to show their economic might and engineering capabilities. Many have become icons of cities, regions and entire countries. The Russky Bridge in Vladivostok is Russia’s latest pride.

Russky Bridge is located off the coast of Vladivostok, in the Peter the Great Gulf, across the narrow strait of Eastern Bosphorus, connecting the large wooded island of Russky to the city. During the Soviet era, the island was primarily of military importance because of the way it shielded Vladivostok from the south. For most of the past 150 years, the Russians held numerous military units in forts and batteries that are spread out over a massive area. Until recently, even the inhabitants of Vladivostok had to get a special permit in order to visit the island.


Photo credit: Bayakov Alexey/Wikimedia

Russky Island is now open to tourists and is connected to Vladivostok by a magnificent bridge. Inaugurated in July 2012, the Russky Bridge is 1,885 meters long, with its central section suspended by cables is 1,104 meters —the longest in the world, beating China's Sutong bridge by 16 meters.

Russky Bridge was constructed to serve the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference that took place on the island in September 2012. As soon as the summit’s location was announced, federal and state governments pumped billions upon billion of Rubles into the city’s roads and railways as it prepared to host the APEC summit. The Russky Bridge was the biggest single investment. The summit preparations reportedly cost more than $20 billion, with an estimated $1.1 billion spent on the bridge alone.

There are plans to develop the island further as a large scale tourist resort. It was also supposed to be the business and academic zone. Numerous luxury hotels were built for guests and delegates attending the summit to stay and the Far Eastern Federal University campus was also opened. But since the summit ended, development has mostly stalled.

One Russian website wrote (translated from Russian):

The bridge was built, the summit held - and then what? It was supposed to open on the island of Federal University. But who is there to learn? Young people and teachers are not in a hurry to leave the mainland. "There is not even drinking water in the island", - complains one of the students.

The bridge, which was built with a capacity 50,000 vehicles per day, is now used by no more than a few thousand cars and tourist buses. The island has only about 20–30 kilometers of asphalt roads. The remaining roads are still unpaved. As travel website Lonely Planet notes, “at the moment Russky Island is very much a DIY attraction.”


Photo credit: Dmitry Nevozhay


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Photo credit: Bayakov Alexey/Wikimedia


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Sources: Wikipedia / New Civil Engineer / Russia & India Report


  1. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and our disaster of a brand-new vanity bridge is falling apart. Can we trade bridges with the Russians?

  2. Этот мост в никуда, как и то куда движется россия в никуда

  3. The symbol of corruption, as well as bridge to the Crimea, which is being built.


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