A key segment of the road which will connect Dubrovnik area with the rest of Croatia (and hopefully, the rest of the Schengen area) over the Pelješac Bridge is the so-called Ston Bypass. It has not been finished yet, although the bridge itself has been fully operational for quite a while now. The bridge itself has proven to be a success, but the opening of the bypass will make it even more popular, as currently the trucks and buses are still not allowed to go over the bridge on their way to Dubrovnik. The reason for that is that the heavy vehicles would currently need to go through Ston itself, which is a problem that gets solved once the bypass is open.
Ahmet Kalajdžić reports today for Slobodna Dalmacija that 90 per cent of the work has been completed. At the construction site where, at first glance, only a few workers can be seen, he spoke with Ivica Tutman from Hrvatske ceste. Construction works will be completed by the end of this year, but he emphasized that the equipping of the Ston bypass includes operations that are not of a constructive nature. We expect that this will also be completed by the end of February, followed by a technical inspection and the obtaining of permits and soon the bypass will be put into circulation. He points out the quality of the work performed so far. The Zaton Doli junction will be completed by mid-December, when the traffic lights will be removed and traffic on the state road D8 will follow without light regulation. The junction is already largely asphalted, but there is still some work to be done that depends on possible extreme weather conditions. On that part of the Jadranska magistrala, the complete normalization of traffic will follow by Christmas at the latest, and after the completion of the entire Ston bypass in February, technical acceptance is expected, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a use permit and putting that section into traffic.
There are currently more than 220 workers on the construction site, most of whom are inside the tunnel, and the people in charge highlight that the only factor that can slow them down currently is the weather. The design solution of the Ston bridge does not include the installation of a windbreaker, as the intensity of the wind here is not very low, but the wind probably does not have an intensity that can significantly endanger traffic. The predicted speed in the tunnels and on the bridge is limited to 80 kilometers per hour.
Despite some scepticism by the locals in Ston, caused by worries of a significant increase in summer traffic, the tourist season has successfully ended. The Ston municipality head, Vedran Antunica, says that they estimate that 70 per cent of the approximately one million vehicles that crossed the Pelješac Bridge passed through the centre of our municipality. This is a lot for our Ston, but I can say that everything went smoothly and without any delays. We are completely satisfied with the work done by the Traffic Police. We know that the huge crowds that we had through Ston will no appear next year, with the completion of the construction of the Ston bypass and that in the future only those who want to visit the cultural and historical sights of Ston will come to us. We can already see the positive effects because the opening of two larger restaurants is already being prepared, but we still lack quality accommodation. However, there is a strong interest in the construction of these capacities in Prapratno and the Marčuleti bay, and along with the removal of the soil piled under the Ston Bridge, the road to Kobaš will finally be improved, Antunica announces.