A double rainbow, which some see as symbolizing a friendly bridge connecting China and Russia, stretches across the Heilong River, known as the Amur River in Russia, on Sept 5, 2017. (Photo: IC)
Construction of a cross-border cableway spanning the Heilong River, known as the Amur River in Russia, was launched on Thursday.
The project that links Heihe, a city in Heilongjiang province and Blagoveshchensk in Russia's Amurskaya region started simultaneously on both sides of the river, and when completed will become the first cross-border cableway in the world.
The cableway is designed to be 972 meters long with a total investment of 571 million yuan ($83 million), according to the local government.
It is designed for cable cars running at speeds of more than 28 kilometers per hour and cut travel time to 10 minutes from 15 minutes. Each cable car can carry 80 passengers.
It is expected to be completed in 2021 and achieve an annual transportation capacity of 6 million people.
The cableway is driven by electric power, with high efficiency and no emissions, which can reduce energy consumption and become a model for developing the green economy and protecting the natural environment, said the local government.
Heihe has been an important trading port throughout history and has been doing business with Russia for more than 130 years.
In 2011, Heihe and the Amurskaya region started a range of cooperative projects in sectors including transportation, resources, culture and tourism.
The Chinese and Russian governments signed an agreement on the cableway construction on Sept 3, 2015.
Heihe port, as a national first-class port, has been playing an important role in China's economic and trade cooperation with Russia, according to the government.
"The cableway will become a safer and more convenient way for tourists to cross the Heilong River," said Qin Enting, Party chief of Heihe. "Passengers can also get a glimpse of the unique views of both cities."
At present, visitors take ferries or hovercraft to get across the border on warmer days, and buses on the floating bridge built on the frozen river in winter.
"I have been to Blagoveshchensk several times," said Zhang Xun, a civil servant in the city. "The cableway will provide tourists a new choice and I have begun to look forward to enjoying the wonderful view from up high."