ZAGREB, March 1, 2019 – The Svilaj bridge across the Sava River along the Vc pan-European road corridor, which is being built by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is expected to be completed this autumn, Croatian Transport Minister Oleg Butković said at the construction site on Thursday.
Butković said that the 22.3 million euro highway bridge was one of the most important infrastructure projects currently underway in Croatia. The project is financed by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 50:50 ratio, and the Croatian part is co-financed from EU funds.
“This bridge is of the utmost importance for the two countries and aside from connecting them, it will connect Budapest with (the southern Croatian port of) Ploče, which is what we want,” said Butković.
The Croatian Roads road construction and maintenance operator has published a tender for the construction of a highway section to run towards Beli Manastir, close to the border with Hungary, and the bids will be opened in March, said the minister.
Asked why the construction of the 33-kilometre section from Osijek to Beli Manastir was taking so long, he said that the necessary funding had to be secured first.
He said that once the Svilaj bridge was completed and work on the highway to Beli Manastir was finished, which was expected in two years’ time, a five-kilometre section towards the Hungarian border, currently being designed, would remain to be built as part of the Croatian section of the Vc corridor.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Deputy Communications and Transport Minister Saša Dalipagić said that the bridge at Svilaj was of huge importance for Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably for people living in the area gravitating towards Svilaj and Odzak. “Our two friendly and neighbouring countries are now connected at this location as well, and that pleases us the most,” said Dalipagić.
He admitted that Bosnia and Herzegovina had been late in building its section of the Vc corridor because it had not had the necessary strategic documents, such as a framework transport policy or transport strategy.
He also said that the most important issue, the financing of construction work on the Bosnia and Herzegovina section of the corridor, had not been solved.
Dalipagić would not forecast when the section of the corridor running through Bosnia and Herzegovina could be completed, saying only, “You are aware of the reality in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The Svilaj bridge is 660 metres long and 18 metres high. Once the bridge is completed, the Croatian section of the Vc corridor will be 59 kilometres long, said Croatian Highways CEO Boris Huzjan.
Work on the bridge started in September 2016. Croatia has built a highway to the bridge while work in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the section from the bridge to Odzak, a municipality in the northeast of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is expected to be completed at the same time as the bridge.
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