Skopje, 18th November 2015 (MIA) – Stip and Radovis will be linked with an express road, the construction of which will commence next year. Funds in the amount of EUR 64 million are provided from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Loan and Guarantee Agreements were signed today by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, EBRD Director of Transport, Sue Barrett, EBRD Director for Western Balkan Countries, Holger Muent, and Director of Public Enterprise for State Roads, Aleksandar Stojanov.

– Road construction will encompass modernization of the road infrastructure in the eastern part of Macedonia and the south-east part of the country linking to the highway from Skopje to Stip, coupled with the construction of several additional roads which is commenced or is planned to commence. Among other roads, construction of the road from Stip to Kocani and the one from Kocani to Delcevo will commence in the first quarter of 2016. Construction of the road to Prilep, Raec – Drenovo section, is also expected to begin sometime around New Year. This is a matter of a significant investment cycle in the road infrastructure, which will amount to more than EUR 200 million in 2016, Stavreski said following the signing ceremony, adding that improvement of infrastructure is a precondition for economic development and strengthening the economy’s competition.

He underlined that the loan was approved under favourable conditions, with 15-year repayment period, four-year grace period and interest rate of 0.99% at the moment.

EBRD Director of Transport, Barrett, said that this was EBRD’s 14th Project in the transport sector in Macedonia, being supported by the Bank. Our total lending in transport infrastructure amounts to ~EUR 660 million, an impressive record which, as she said, reflects the excellent relationships established with the Government.

According to Barrett, upgrading of this road section is also significant in terms of regional integration, as it provides an important link towards Bulgaria and connects with the new highway running north of Stip to Pan-European Corridors VIII and X. This, as she went on, has important benefits in terms of the mobility of the citizens of Macedonia, as well as the movement of goods and economic growth.

EBRD Director for Western Balkan Countries underlined that modernization of the road infrastructure will make Macedonia become even more attractive for foreign investors who want to export goods produced in the country.

Muent pointed out that EBRD’s support will increase to more that EUR 140 million by the end of the year, which will cover investments not only in transport, but also with private companies, banks and in the energy sector.

Director Stojanov stated that good roads generate increased traffic, providing for fast and economic transport, mainly contributing to greater safety in the traffic. Our intensive cooperation with EBRD is an indicator of our commitment to developing the national road infrastructure, Stojanov said.

The express road will be 39 km long, both direction comprising one traffic lane each and one stopping lane on each side. The roadway will be 11.4 m wide. The road will include 10 bridges and viaducts, three overpasses, 34 culverts and four intersections.

In addition to EUR 64 million, Public Enterprise for State Roads will be extended grant funding in the amount of EUR 625,000 for project implementation.

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