Fireworks and folk songs hail completion of Peljesac Bridge in Croatia
A celebration was held in Croatia to mark the installation of the final section of the Peljesac Bridge, which connects two regions of the country that were separated by part of Bosnian territory.
The EU-funded project, which was undertaken by a consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) after a highly competitive tender, was completed on Wednesday, followed at midnight by an opening ceremony with folk dancers and fireworks.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the ceremony that the bridge fulfilled a national dream of connecting the country’s Adriatic coast.
“The Peljesac Bridge is a fascinating strategic achievement of the Croatian people and government that will serve generations to come,” he said. Overview of the Balkans.
The 2.4 km girder and cable-stayed bridge has been declared a project of exceptional strategic importance for Croatia, as it will allow motorists to avoid a detour through Bosnia by connecting an isolated Croatian peninsula to the mainland.
When the $431 million structure and its road network are opened to traffic next year, it will connect Split and Dubrovnik, and “will greatly benefit tourism, trade and strengthen the territorial cohesion of the Dalmatia region of South,” according to the European Commission, which allocated $357 million to its Cohesion Fund scheme.
Under discussion for 20 years, the bridge project drew objections from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which feared it would restrict the size of ships entering Neum, its only port. As a result, the bridge deck was raised from 35m to 55m and the stanchions placed at least 200m apart.
It was also the subject of a legal battle after disappointed bidders Strabag, Astaldi and IC Ictas of Turkey were awarded, on the grounds that the Chinese state-owned contractor was a recipient of state aid. and had therefore breached European competition law (see further reading).
Image: The Peljesac Bridge under construction in July 2021 (Ballota/CC BY-SA 4.0)