Start of the bridge construction over the Sava river, connecting the Bosnian and Croatian territories, was officially marked on Friday in presence of the two countries’ officials as well as the senior representatives of the European Union, which financially supports the project.
“The bridge construction near Gradiska is equally important for both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina because it will connect the residents on both sides of the Sava river,” Croatia’s Minister for Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic said at the ceremony.
The new bridge construction is planned to be finalised within 30 months and it will connect already built road networks in Bosnia and Croatia.
Bosnia has built a highway and border crossing but they cannot be used until the bridge is put into operation.
Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport, said that this project is a result of large efforts and it bears special importance.
“That’s a European perspective and we want Bosnia and Herzegovina to make swift progress towards Europe,” said the commissioner, adding that Brussels will continue supporting the improved connectivity of the Western Balkans and the European Union.
So far, the EU allocated 215 million Euro worth grants for the transport sector in the region, she recalled.
Start of#EUfundedconstruction works of Gradiška bridge between#BiHand#Croatiais a historic moment. Not only for safe and efficient road#transport, reduced border crossing times, and job creation. But also to bring#EUand#WesternBalkanscloser together!pic.twitter.com/1mzj12bU3W— Violeta Bulc (@Bulc_EU)October 11, 2019
Head of the EU Delegation in Bosnia, Ambassador Johann Sattler, noted that co-financing of the bridge is the best proof of the EU’s readiness to assist and contribute to connectivity in the region.
Bosnia Presidency member Milorad Dodik thanked Croatia’s authorities and the EU representatives for cooperation on this project and expressed hope that the bridge will be built even before the deadline for that expires.
The construction works will be carried out by Bosnian-Croatian consortium composed of ‘Integral Inzenjering’ and ‘Zagreb-montaza’ companies.
The construction contract worth 23.5 million Euros was signed in July this year in Zagreb.