20 Million Kunas Spent on Unusable Border Crossing

Total Croatia News

While some border crossings are overwhelmed with passengers, others stand completely empty.

While waiting for the start of construction of the Pelješac Bridge, connecting the two parts of the Croatian territory and avoiding four border controls (two in Klek and two in Bistrina), the state has invested 20 million kunas at a border crossing with Bosnia and Herzegovina at Stjepan Radić Street in Metković, reports Jutarnji List on 8 August 2017.

Unfortunately, the border crossing, which was supposed to be constructed in accordance with the Schengen rules, has not yet been opened and in all likelihood, it will never be opened because it cannot receive an operating license. Experts claim that it is too narrow for traffic, and two buses cannot pass one next to the other.

This is a classic Croatian story, with money being spent on a facility which does not serve any purpose, except looking ugly and impeding traffic. Border control procedures are still being conducted a few kilometres away at an old crossing.

The twenty million kunas could have been spent on extending the Pelješac road and the ferry pier at Komarno and Brijesta, which would help traffic until the Pelješac Bridge is finally built. Anyway, the money could have been better spent. This way, it has been paid for nothing, since the border crossing will probably never be opened and will not serve its purpose.

Residents of Metković are unanimous in their opinion that the border crossing at Stjepan Radić Street should be removed and that it represents a disgrace. “It could not be a rural border crossing, let alone a Schengen crossing. It seemed to have been built for a time about a hundred years ago when people were using horse-drawn carriages,” says a local, adding that premises for officials should have been placed near a hillside, and another traffic line added next to the Neretva river. One of the possible alternative solutions being mentioned is a tunnel through the Predolac hill, however, that would be too expensive, considering the opening of another Schengen border crossing at Nova Sela, which is used by freight traffic.

The cost of this infamous border crossing is just a fraction of the value of the Pelješac Bridge, whose construction is expected to commence in the near future. However, the Metković border crossing, which used to be called the Gate of Europe, is an example of the state bureaucracy spending money on something that does not serve any purpose. In other words, there is enough money; it just needs to be properly allocated and spent.

The question is whether the designers and supervisors have ever visited Metković while the crossing was being built and whether they realised that it was too cramped and narrow. Since no one ever answers in Croatia for omissions, Croatian taxpayers will be the only ones who will pay for this “Potemkin’s Border Crossing.”

The Finance Ministry, which is the official investor in the project, has refused to comment on the issue. The latest official information is that technical inspection of the site has been carried out and comments period is still underway for any omissions and errors to be highlighted by road traffic experts, local authorities, environmental protection inspectors… A commission will consider all the comments received, and the observed shortcomings will be removed, after which an operation permit will be issued.

When will this happen and whether additional works on the third traffic line are ever going to take place is entirely uncertain, just like how much extra works would cost.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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