Highway to hell: Bridge built of gravestones shocks Russian village

© Vitaly Zalessky
Authorities in a village in central Russia found a macabre way of fixing a crippled bridge – they built a new one made of gravestones from a local cemetery.

The old wooden bridge has long been in dire condition and desperately needed repair. However, the small village of Lemet near Nizhny Novgorod had very limited means for the project, local news outlet Versia reported.

This is when old metal gravestones found in a dumpster near a local cemetery came in handy. Contractors along with the local authorities apparently didn’t think twice when they decided it was a good idea to make use of the tombstones still bearing names, dates of birth and death of the deceased.

“The old bridge was worn out and we decided to make a new one with the materials at hand,” Olga Launina, head of Lemet administration, said in an interview with a local news program Kstati. 

“People say that it’s blasphemous and offends their feelings, but it’s not that way. It’s not a gravesite. They should think of it [the gravestones] as being like reusable materials,” she added.

The move has stirred much controversy among the locals, with some of them not willing to step on the structure, which they deem sacrilegious - at least without crossing themselves first.

“These days even scrap metal collection points in the Ardatovsky district do not take metal gravestones and other things from cemeteries,” the locals told the Versia news outlet. “But the construction workers don’t care. The Lord will punish those who desecrate gravestones!”

As soon as the shocked people took to social media posting photos of the bridge accompanied by outraged messages, the local prosecutor’s office initiated an inquiry into the matter, according to a statement on its website. 

Following the public outrage the village authorities decided to remove the gravestones and replace them with wooden planks, the Life News outlet reported