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    Russian military tests new railroad pontoon bridge

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    NORSKOYE (YAROSLAVL REGION), July 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian military have tested a new railroad pontoon bridge crossing the Volga.

    The Volga is the most important river in European Russia. First, a train consisting of two diesel locomotives and twenty cars with a total weight of 3,000 metric tons and total length of 543 meters crossed the river. The 1.5 meter high pontoon sunk no more than 0.92 m.

    Then ten T-80 tanks followed the train. Each weighed 42.5 metric tons. The pontoon sunk 11 centimeters. Then 79 vehicles, including 18 fuel and military equipment transportation vehicles, crossed the bridge at 30 kilometers per hour. The pontoon sunk 40 centimeters.

    The bridge was tested in conditions very similar to those experienced in combat. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Transport Minister Igor Levitin were present during the tests. Ivanov told journalists afterward that the new bridges, which should function for 50-60 years, might be used both for military and civilian purposes.

    The first pontoon bridges will be delivered to the Armed Forces in 2006. The total cost of each bridge will be about $35 million.

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