Skopje, 5th December 2014 (MIA) – In eight to nine months, the construction of Beljakovce- Kriva Palanka section should start, being the second section for railroad connection of Macedonia with Bulgaria along Corridor 8.

As for the section, being 34 km long, railroad tracks will be built, as well as two railway stations in Kratovo and Ginovci, three stops, 14 tunnels, 11 new bridges, and the existing 33 bridges will be renewed as well.  

As for the funds necessary for the construction, amounting to EUR 145 million, provided under a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Agreement between Macedonian institutions and EBRD was signed today.  In addition, Agreement with EBRD was also signed for a loan in the amount of EUR 160 million that will provide for construction of three express roads and one high way.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, strategic and major infrastructure projects are realized with the EUR 305 million extended by ERBD.

– We expect, on the basis of the signing of the agreement and the carried out preparatory activities, for the construction of the second phase to start after the 2015 summer, i.e. in eight to nine months. First phase is in progress and it should be completed by September 2013, meaning that there will be parallel construction of the first and second stage.  It is important that funds have been provided, that we have a good partner – EBRD, as a guarantee for quality of the project realization, and that there is certainty for providing funds for the third phase, meaning that the railroad tracks to Bulgaria has become a reality, this project was discussed for a period of 20 to 30 years, however, the time has come for providing the overall financial plan, Stavreski said following the signing of the Agreement. 

He pointed out that it was a matter of one of the most significant arteries and strategic corridors for the Republic of Macedonia that will provide for additional flow of goods and passengers in the East- West zone from Italia through Albania and through the Republic of Macedonia towards Bulgaria.  Thus, as he stressed the travel in this direction will be shorter and cheaper.

Agreement with EBRD for realizing the National Roads Program will provide for construction of the Struga-Trebenista highway, the express roads Raec-Drenovo as part of the road from Gradsko to Prilep, Ohrid-Pestani, as well as construction of the express road Stip-Kocani.

– It is a matter of major infrastructure projects, best-invested funds in the construction of the corridors in Macedonia  both railway and road ones, thus directly contributing to the development of the country and  in terms of  the period in which they are to be built, this will mean engaging domestic and foreign companies, increasing the GDP, and on the long run, following their completion, competitiveness of Macedonian economy will be to a great extent boosted since new roads will be constructed, which will provide for Macedonia to have better traffic infrastructure.

According to Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski, exceptionally significant roads will be built and they will contribute to the development of the regions, the flow of passengers and goods and the safety of roads.  

– Construction of these roads will improve the safety and conditions for traveling and transport and, also contributing to economic development in these regions, as well as job creation, Janakieski said.  

He said that the road from Raec to Drenovo intersection being 10 km long, as part of the express road Gradsko-Prilep, will be extended with four lanes.  Stip-Kocani road, being 26 km long, will be extended from the existing 6.5 meters to 12 meters, and the construction will start next year.  

– New express road Ohrid-Pestani will be 14.5 km long. Construction starts next year, and this road is planned to be built in parallel to the old road.  This financial package also covers the construction of the new highway from Struga to Trebenista, being 8.5 km long, the construction of which is planned in 2016, Janakieski said.

Sue Barrett, EBRD Director for Transport, assessed that the loans will provide to modernization and construction of the infrastructure in Macedonia.  Once the railroad tracks to Bulgaria is completed, she stressed, will provide access to the Black Sea ports in Bulgaria, providing am additional trade route for Macedonia, thus improving trade flows between Greece, Macedonia and Kosovo.  The new rail link will also offer improved passenger services in Macedonia and beyond and it will have large positive effects on the economy.  

According to Barrett, construction and upgrading of the roads envisaged under the loan amounting to EUR 160 million will also increase the economic cooperation in the region by connecting the road network and the key industrial areas.

Director of PE Macedonian Railways Infrastructure, Irfan Asani stressed that the construction and modernization of the railway infrastructure will provide for competitiveness of the railways on the transport market.  Only in this way it is possible to offer better conditions in terms of greater speed, comfort, accessibility and safety in the railway traffic, to the end of attracting bigger number of passengers and achieving greater scope of transport of goods through the railways.

Ljupco Georgievski, Director of the Public Enterprise for State Roads, pointed out that what is a priority in economic terms is connecting all regions in the country through the national roads with the international transport connections.  

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