Could Split Eventually See Rail Transport from Ferry Port to Airport?

Daniela Rogulj

Talks were held earlier this week about the potential of connecting the Split ferry port to the airport via railway. 

Split mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, Split-Dalmatia County prefect Blaženko Boban, and the mayors of Solin, Kaštela and Trogir, met with the president of the HŽ Passenger Transport administration, Željko Ukić, about a city rail transport service that would connect the Split ferry port to the Split airport, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on April 16, 2018. 

The state secretary at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Tomislav Mihotić and assistant minister Mario Madunić, as well as member of the HŽ Infrastructure Darko Barišić and his associates, participated in the working meeting with the managing director of Split Airport Lukša Novak and Port Authority director Vice Mihanović. President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Split, Mirjana Čagalj, was also present. 

Mayor Krstulović Opara said that there have been intensive preparations for a government session which will take place in Split on May 4, and the suburban railway from the Split Airport to the Split Ferry Port, with the intermodal hub at Split’s Kopilica, is one of the points of the agenda, for which the Ministry of the Sea, Maritime Affairs and Infrastructure will finance a feasibility study. Opara also said that the meeting held earlier this week was a chance for professionals to say what needs to be done to link the agglomeration of 300,000 people by high-quality railroad traffic and to relieve traffic jams in the peak months. 

Split-Dalmatia County prefect Blaženko Boban said that all four cities – Split, Solin, Kaštela and Trogir – together with the County, are joined in the problem of solving transport infrastructure, as well as all other vital projects. The mayor of Kaštela, Denis Ivanović, and the mayor of Trogir, Ante Bilić, who reported that their cities are in the process of amending the GUP, including the railway line, agreed with Boban.

Željko Ukić, president of the HŽ Passenger Transport Board, said that he was sceptical about the status of the railway and the supporting infrastructure, but also that he saw the potential of railway traffic development in this area. He said that this would be the first airport in Croatia that is connected via railway. 

Ukić added that HŽ Passenger Transport certainly wants to expand the city traffic and the suburban railway, and in this case, will play the role of integrator between the respective ministry, HŽ infrastructure, cities and the county because they are engaged in providing public services, encouraging population mobility and connecting cities. He announced a roundtable in Split at the end of the month, where he will talk about the railway system with his team and propose signing an agreement on the improvement and development of the integrated transport operation, which will be the platform for this project.

Darko Barišić said that it is evident that the traffic infrastructure has not followed the development of cities and that they are interested in solving this problem. HŽ infrastructure is essential for this project and that they would apply for EU funds for the project, in cooperation with the ministry.

State Secretary Tomislav Mihotić said that it is necessary to determine the route and set up the infrastructure, long-term considerations and all new projects, such as the Solin-Trogir high-speed road, Split’s bypass and the Čiovo bridge, into a universal story. He said that with these projects, Split would become the largest construction site in Croatia, which for years has been neglected.

Lukša Novak and Vice Mihanović welcomed this initiative to connect the two ports and said they are ready to assume its project obligations and funding.

Mayor Krstulović Opara added that this railroad is also crucial for joining the Croatian south with the rest of the country and Europe, and not just for connecting these four cities.

For this project, all participants of the meeting will propose their representatives to a working group to be headed by the HŽ Infrastructure representative as project bearer and to prepare the agreement which will be the basis for implementation and introduction to the agenda at the session of the government in Split.

Translated from Slobodna Dalmacija


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