Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko took part in the ceremony to open the renovated bridge over the Pripyat River in Zhitkovichi District on 6 November.
The head of state noted that the commissioning of new significant facilities in the run-up to 7 November – October Revolution Day – has already become a good tradition in Belarus. The year 2018 is not an exception. “I think young people will support our aspirations,” believes Alexander Lukashenko. He reminded that due to its faulty state the bridge had to be closed to traffic in December 2017. The bridge’s closure became a massive problem for residents of the town of Turov and Zhitkovichi District.
Back then the head of state gave instructions to arrange a ferry crossing and a pontoon bridge, however, those solutions could not resolve the problem completely. “When I saw mass media coverage of the problem, I understood what it could lead to. And it did. It was a catastrophe for the people, who have to get to the other bank of the river to get to work and for other reasons. This is why everything was done here very fast. Keep in mind that within half a year construction workers had to change the riverbed, build access roads to ferry crossings, remove the old bridge, order and deliver the new construction, install the necessary props and build a new bridge. It was a great deal of work,” noted the head of state. Alexander Lukashenko admitted that when instructions were given that everything was to be done by 7 November and everyone promised it would be done, he had doubts whether the task would be accomplished or not. “But it was done even ahead of schedule. Great work!” said the President.
“I am told that the tight schedule has not affected the quality of the bridge. In addition to resolving difficult issues and reaching assigned goals the construction workers acquired invaluable experience. Not only the experience of blowing up the bridge although it was a complicated task,” Alexander Lukashenko noted. “It is here that many innovative ideas and technologies have been implemented. Everyone worked to achieve the result.”
The President thanked everyone, who had contributed to the construction project. “The key task of the state is to secure decent living standards for the citizens and give them equal opportunities for work regardless of where they live,” he stated. Alexander Lukashenko instructed to award construction workers and executives involved in reconstructing the bridge over the Pripyat River.
The local residents welcomed the reopening of the bridge since an important problem of theirs has been resolved at the state level within a very short period of time.
Alexander Lukashenko together with top officials of the regional administration and the transport ministry cut the red ribbon to open the bridge to traffic. The local residents thanked the head of state for the gift. Local school students presented a model of the bridge to the head of state.
“This bridge has taught us a lot,” said the President. “Bridges are designed to unite. It is their function. Disunite or separate are not. And unity lies at the heart of our policy.”
The head of state was informed about the state of other bridges in the country and the prospects of their development. In particular, Transport and Communications Minister Anatoly Sivak told the President about the most important bridges on the main motorways. It is necessary to reconstruct, modernize, or replace 32 bridges. The President pointed out to the importance of bridges not only on motorways of national importance but also municipal ones. “Some municipal roads and bridges are as important as national ones,” he said.
The head of state said that the availability of well-developed transport infrastructure is a very important component in the uniform development of regions of Belarus. This is why the state of all the bridges in the country is being evaluated. Decisions will be made after that.
In line with the standing instructions results of the inspections of bridge structures will be submitted to the head of state in Q1 2019. The final decision on the timeline for fixing the bridges and the necessary funding will be made then.
“Today we’ve agreed that we will get down to repairing, modernizing, or replacing 3-10 bridges right away in addition to the 20 bridges we are already working on,” continued Alexander Lukashenko. “This way we will fix roughly 25 bridges within one year. We will raise funds for it. If necessary, we will divert money from all programs and channel it into bridges.”
“Everything has to be done on time. All the inspections will be done by the new year. We will have to make the final decision in the first quarter. There is no need to wait for the bridges to break down. We should do all the work on time,” stressed the head of state.
A concise plan for reconstructing bridges in Belarus should be ready in Q1 2019, Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state also talked to the construction workers, who had built the new bridge, and to Zhitkovichi District residents.
According to the head of state, the fact that the new bridge over the Pripyat River is opened in the run-up to October Revolution Day is symbolic.
“The main lesson hat we must lean from the history of 1917 is the exceptional value of peace. Peace is needed for people to live well,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.
“The second lesson derives from the things that caused the October Revolution. These are human rights and we are talking a lot about them,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “A few hours ago I met with U.S. analysts, we discussed the October Revolution (as you know, they have a different opinion about all this). We discussed human rights and I cited those events as an example. Human rights were violated there. People fought and died in that ridiculous war. The right to life was violated, as well as the right to work. People did not have jobs and could not earn a living.”
“Therefore, October Revolution Day celebrates peace and human rights,” Alexander Lukashenko said. He remarked that the October Revolution is not an upheaval as certain people are now saying in Russia. “We can call it a upheaval, but not the one that they wanted to see in our state back then. They are trying to erase and rewrite everything. That is why, perhaps, we made a wide decision some time ago to leave this holiday and do not throw stones in this history,” the President said.
“Value peace, people and true rights for life, labor, education, healthcare, parenthood,” the President concluded.