M56 Lena highway (Russia)

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M56 marker

Federal Highway M56
Федеральная автомобильная дорога M56
Lena Highway
Route information
Length: 1,235 km (767 mi)
Major junctions
North end: Yakutsk
South end: Skovorodino
Highway system
Russian Federal Highways
M56 near Yakutsk

M56 Lena Highway or The Amur-Yakutsk Highway (Russian: Амуро-Якутская автомобильная дорога or Russian: Амуро-Якутская автомагистраль) – a federal highway (road) in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia, connecting Yakutsk with the Trans-Siberian Railway corridor near Skovorodino. The road was built in stages between 1925 and 1964.

It runs parallel to the incomplete Amur Yakutsk Mainline railway. It takes its name from the Lena River, which runs more or less north-south in this part of Siberia. Actually, with Yakutsk situated entirely on the west bank of Lena, and the road running on the east bank, the highway terminates in Nizhny Bestyakh (Нижний Бестях), a settlement of 4,000 people opposite Yakutsk on the east bank of Lena. When river conditions permit, one may drive right over the frozen river to Yakutsk, or take the ferry, but much of the year the river is impassable due to flooding or ice floes or semi-thawed ice not supporting the weight of vehicles.

At Nizhny Bestyakh, Lena Highway connects to Kolyma Highway (The Road of Bones), also designated M56, linking Yakutsk with Magadan to the east, on the Pacific Ocean seacoast.

There is no bridge over the Lena anywhere in Yakutia. One is meant to be built 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Yakutsk center between 2009 and 2013, a dual-use railroad/road span of some 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) in length. The road's southern terminus is at the village of Never near Skovorodino, where it intersects the M58 highway at a cloverleaf junction. In July 2013 the federal road agency, Rosavtodor requested a tender to build a three-kilometer road-only bridge over the river, expecting a cost of $1.7 bn/56 bn RUB, and a 6 year construction period.[1] The winner will be announced in spring 2014.[2]

Although it is a federal highway, it is just a dirt road. When frozen in the winter, this makes for an excellent surface, and the posted speed limit is 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph). However, in the summer, with any significant rain, the road turns to impassible mud that often swallows whole smaller vehicles.[3] Significant parts of the road, mainly in the south, have been paved[4]


  1. ^ Lena River Bridge to Provide Hope and Fruit
  2. ^ MegaProject 124: Two teams qualified for $1.7b Lena River bridge PPP project in Russia (Infrappp; Nov 6, 2013)
  3. ^ Archer, Rick (January 2007). "The Russian Highway from Hell". Retrieved 2008-04-05.  Pictures of the Lena Highway with some commentary.
  4. ^ Google maps