Could the beautiful island of Korčula soon be connected to the Pelješac peninsula?
As Morski writes on the 14th of May, 2018, while waiting for the start of works on the long awaited Pelješac Bridge, which the Chinese corporation ”CRBC” will construct for Croatian Roads (Hrvatske Ceste), the public company commissioned a feasibility study of the traffic link between the island of Korčula and the Pelješac peninsula, which is divided by 1200 metres of water, known as the Pelješac channel.
Precisely because of the close proximity of Croatia’s most populous island to Pelješac this idea has been being thrown around and considered for decades, usually formulating with the idea of the construction of a bridge, this, however, is not actually an option, as has been learned from the mayor of Korčula, Andrija Fabris.
“Of course we’d like to see a bridge to Pelješac, but we’ll be just as happy and satisfied when we build Pelješac Bridge, which we’ve been waiting so long for in this part of the country. When it comes to the study commissioned by Croatian Roads on the connection between Korčula and Pelješac, according to the information that I’ve got, there’d be a better connection between the port of Perna on Pelješac and Polačišta port on Korčula,” said Fabris, confirming that creating a traffic link between Korčula and Pelješac with a bridge is part of the spatial plan of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. There is, as was revealed, the suggestion that Korčula and Pelješac should be connected with a tunnel, as was written by Jutarnji list.
“These are plans, and the reality is that we’ll have to wait for a better financial situation for a project like a bridge or a tunnel on the Peljesac channel,” concluded Fabris.
Announcements on the construction of a bridge on Korčula have been given by several local officials such as the long-standing Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavic, as well by as some members of the government while serving their mandates in office, such as the Minister of Transport in several HDZ mandates, Božidar Kalmeta, as well as by Tomislav Karamarko.
The very first time the construction of a bridge on the Pelješac channel was set out was in the ”South Adriatic” development plan from back in the 1960s. However, the authors of that particular development plan were seemingly much more inclined to build a tunnel connecting Korčula and Pelješac, due to intensive maritime traffic along the Pelješac channel.
In Dubrovnik-Neretva County’s spatial plan, it has been stated that the two points that should be merged between Korčula and Pelješac are Sveti Ivan in Pelješac and Kneža bay on the island of Korčula. The ferry connections on the Pelješac channel exceed 230,000 vehicles and 600,000 passengers annually.
Owing to the fact that the planned length of the so called ”Korčula Bridge” is actually around fifty percent shorter than that of the planned Pelješac Bridge, any investment in its realisation would be considerably less than two billion and 80 million kuna. The question therefore remains open regarding whether or not ”Korčula Bridge” would receive European Union co-financing in the same way that Pelješac Bridge has, for which the European Union is ready to help out with 85 percent of its total investment via non-refundable EU funds.
In any case, the costs of construction and the repair of access roads on both Korčula and Pelješac should be calculated into the final cost of constructing such a bridge.