Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has unveiled a $1 billion bridge; part of the country’s attempt to develop eastward.

The 3.1-km (1.9-mile) bridge links the island of Russky, in the Far Eastern region, to most of Russia. The region makes up one third of Russia but is home to just 4% of the population. Medvedev’s development efforts underline the potential of the region, especially for the energy industry, reports the Asahi Shumbun.

“The bridge will integrate the territory into the national economic space,” Medvedev told regional officials in a meeting but anti-Kremlin opposition criticized the costly structure. Medvedev told media at the launching ceremony that the bridge would cater to people living on the island and will help boost tourism, according to Reuters.

Russia is developing the Far Eastern region to supply energy to China. Both countries are cooperating on energy resources, particularly electricity.

Russia will host the annual Asia of Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in the port city of Vladivostok, on Russky Island. The island will also house an international university and luxury real estate in an effort to bolster tourism and investment.