Connecting Croatia: All Peljesac Bridge Segments Soon to be Constructed

Lauren Simmonds

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As Vecernji list/Josip Bohutinski writes, by the end of February, 49 out of a total of 165 segments of the steel span structure had been installed on the Peljesac bridge construction site. Back in mid-February, a segment with a total length of 52 metres and weighing 581 tonnes was placed between the sea pillar S3 and the land pillar S2. By the end of last month, according to Hrvatske ceste (Croatian roads), all of the steel pillars on Peljesac bridge had been driven in and concreted, and all work on the construction columns, pylons and the like had been completed.

The pillars are 38 to 54 metres high, and the pylons on the six central pillars are 40 metres high. On the bridge itself, the assembly and welding of segments of the steel span structure, the installation of oblique tensions, and earthworks on the access road to the bridge are currently in progress in the huge, strategic connecting Croatia project.

It has since been learned that, according to the dynamic plan of the contractor, the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the completion of the last segment is scheduled for early October this year. And that means that Croatia will finally be connected in a little over half a year. The works on the bridge won’t all be finished then, the final works will go on until the end of the year.

The placement of the last segment will have a symbolic meaning for connecting Croatia as a strategic project for the entire country. The merging of the two parts of the Croatian mainland should have happened a few months before, but due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the dynamics of work on the construction site was quite significantly disrupted. However, the Chinese have so far done 65 percent of the work on the much anticipated bridge, and the current realisation on that project amounts to 1.3 billion kuna, out of a total of 2.08 billion as previously contracted. According to Croatian roads data, the last two ships with segments from China should arrive at the construction site on April the 21st and May the 17th, approximately.

According to Croatian roads, the production of segments of the Dalmatian bridge has continued in the plants over in China. After the arrival of the first and second shipments of steel segments, the third shipment was divided into two shipments. The first shipment, carrying a total of 16 segments of the span structure, arrived at the construction site on January the 8th this year. The total weight of these segments is about 3952 tonnes. The second shipment brought a total of 29 segments back during the middle of this month.

While new parts for the bridge are coming to the construction site, specialised welders from China are also continuing work on enlarging the segments of the span assembly. There are currently 543 workers on the construction site, of which 144 workers are technical and support staff, and the rest are engineers and sailors on the ships.

As for the access roads, along the section Duboka – Zaradeze, which is 12 kilometres long and is being built by Strabag, and the 2.4-kilometre-long Debeli Brijeg tunnel was ahead of schedule. The contracted value of works on that section is 478.3 million kuna. In addition to the route itself, this very demanding section includes the construction of two tunnels, one viaduct and two bridges.

According to current data, last month, the contractor on that section continued the excavation of the route, the construction of embankments and external drainage, and works on facilities – including the underpass on DC8, the Dumanja ravine I and II bridges and the Kamenica and Debeli brijeg tunnels. As such, on a part of the route on the Peljesac peninsula, work was done on the wide excavation of the route and the construction of embankments and external drainage all the way to the Kamenica tunnel where blasting is being carried out.

The Greek company Avax is building the Ston bypass, the Zaradeze – Prapratno and Prapratno – Doli sub-sections, covering a total length of 18.1 kilometres. There are also very demanding facilities on this route – two tunnels and one viaduct and one bridge. The value of this contract is 511.6 million kuna. All the foundations of the pillars and abutments were completed on that route near the Prapratno viaduct.

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