Transparent Tunnel from Brodarica to Krapanj?

Lauren Simmonds

”There’s a long way to go before realisation, but one Polish firm is extremely interested…”

The idea of a transparent bridge that would connect Brodarica and Krapanj in the future has gone from a mere idea to taking a potentially serious, more realistic turn, but, to arrive to any form of realisation of what would be a truly enormous project, there are still many hurdles to be jumped, including numerous presentations, agreements, negotiations, permissions and applications to wade through.

As SibenikIN writes on the 27th of April, 2018, the idea itself is over twenty years old and was recently revitalised and brought back to the forefront of peoples’ minds through the work of an informal European Union team formed by the Brodarica Tourist Board in cooperation with the former local council body.

”It all started with workshops on EU funds and projects that would prove to be profitable in our region, and to adequately diversify it from other competing environments,” stated Joško Bačelić, the president of the Krapanj-Brodarica Tourist Board.

Basically, pedestrians would walk about 100 metres from the side of Brodarica to the escalator which would then drop them into the underwater tunnel. Built from acrylic, this tunnel would have a length of about a hundred metres, and this idea was initially conceived as a natural aquarium, and on Krapanj, it would emerge directly from the old cistern which is owned by the City of Šibenik. All this was designed primarily with pedestrians in mind, and there would of course be enough room made for an electric emergency vehicle to pass. The maximum depth on this part stands at eighteen metres, ideal for the sun to reach the acrylic tunnel, and to ensure sufficient space for the unobtrusive movement of maritime traffic.

”It’s classic infrastructure mixed with a tourist attraction to make the project self-sustainable. For the time being, I’ve told Mayor Zeljko Burić that the bridge fits in with the concept of the development of the coast. The support of the local self-government is very important in all this, as we’re presently presenting the whole idea to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, as well as to the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union funds. These two ministries are crucial for the further development of this idea that we’ve just launched at the tourist board,” added Bačelić.

He has already attended some initial meetings with potential Polish investors who would be willing to invest 60 percent of the funds if they were to use their technology.

”We received an open letter of intent from Reynolds Polimer. The firm specialises in acrylic underwater aquariums and works closely with the Technology University of Poland and the Russian shipyard near Gdansk. During the meeting with them, they expressed their intentions to be ready to fund the project with as much as 60 percent of the total funds, if we used their technology. In that case, the remaining 40 percent would be allocated to the local self-government and to EU funds, to which the Ministry of Maritime Affairs would apply as possible project holder. About ten percent of the amount, and it’s too early to talk about how much that would be, would fall upon the local self-government,” Bačelić believes, adding that this potential project would be a new landmark for the entire county, not to mention an incredible tourist attraction that would be completely unrivalled elsewhere.

Since the idea is just that, an idea, at this point in time, it’s unrealistic to expect the beginning of any type of construction beforet the year 2021, he added, noting that the infamously slow speed of Croatian bureaucracy needs to be taken into account, too.

”The city administration’s support throughout the whole story is generally there”, stated the Mayor of Šibenik, Željko Burić, pointing out that due to the specificity of the project, it’s still necessary to see whether or not it’s feasible and whether or not it will even get the green light, with regard, for example to the environmental impact studies that will beed to be undertaken as part of the long and potentially arduous process.

”There are so many other decisions and numerous approvals that will be required in order to bring this project to its eventual realisation. In principle, a project like this now has our support,” commented Mayor Željko Burić.


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