Kicevo, 22nd February 2014 (MIA) – Under an investment in the amount of EUR 375 million, Kicevo and Ohrid will be connected with a 57-km long highway, which should facilitate and accelerate the transportation of passengers and goods and contribute to economic and tourism development.

The construction activities started on Saturday at the cornerstone laying ceremony near Kicevo Village of Izvor, attended by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, ministers, ambassadors, and mayors.

Investment for this major project is estimated at around EUR 375 million, thus being the highest infrastructural investments in the past 50 years in Macedonia, Prime Minister Gruevski said.

Constructed highways in the country in the past 50 years, as he said, cost less than the investment in the highway Kicevo-Ohrid. This shows how valuable this Project is. Nobody has ever carried out so large investment in any of the highways in the Republic of Macedonia before, stated Gruevski, pointing out that the funds have been provided with especially favourable loan by China’s Exim Bank.

According to the Project, the new highway starts from Kicevo, passing through Podvis, Preseka and Pesocani until Trebenista, where it is connected with Ohrid, through Podmolje. It will include two lanes, 25. 2 meters wide, and the route will include 6 overpasses and 13 underpasses, as well as the Tunnel “Preseka” in two directions. It will be constructed by the Chinese Company “Sinhydro Corporation Limited." Construction works will simultaneously start on three locations in order to be completed in 4 years. Several construction and other companies from Macedonia will be also included in the activities. In line with the contract, 51% of the workforce will be from Macedonia, i.e. from the municipalities surrounding the highway.

The most important advantage of the new highway, according to the Prime Minister, will the opportunity for simpler, quicker and safer communication between the inhabited areas in the regions of Kicevo, Ohrid and Struga. Communication between the western part of the country and its capital Skopje and the other part of the Republic of Macedonia is certainly no less important. Other numerous benefits from the construction of this highway will also include economic improvement during and after the process of the highway construction. I expect, from the very beginning of the construction activities, for many new jobs to be created in the construction companies, which are contractors and subcontractors of the Project, as well as in many other companies, the activity of which is closely related to the construction, Gruevski said, adding that the highway will be also very useful for TIDZ in Kicevo, Tetovo and Struga, tourism, as well as for improving the traffic safety.

Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski stressed that the speed limit of the new highway section will be 120 kilometers per hour, rather than the present speed limit of 60 km.

This highway section is more than important, given the fact that a large number of citizens and tourists needed it for a long period of time, since it leads to our most wanted tourism destination – Ohrid, Janakieski said.

In the next four years, as he said, with the construction of highway sections from Miladinovci to Stip and from Kicevo to Ohrid, as well as the highway section Demir Kapija – Smokvica, at which the construction activities are being efficiently realized, Republic of Macedonia will get additional 130 –kilometer highway network.

In addition, he said, it is expected for call for concessionaire of the highway sections Gostivar-Kicevo and Skopje-Blace to be announced this year.

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