Pan-Balkan highway hits snags along the road
The new, long-awaited highway may open in Serbia in the coming five years, but no earlier.
By Georgi Mitev Shantek for Southeast European Times in Belgrade — 17/06/11
Construction of the Corridor 10 highway in Serbia may not be finished before 2016, experts say. [Nikola Barbutov/SETimes]
The pan-European highway, Corridor 10, first envisioned to be the main transit route for the 2004 Athens Olympics, is now falling further off pace and will likely not be completed until 2016.
The portion in Serbia was initially promoted as a unique foreign investment opportunity, but it has faced obstacles every step of the way.
„If motorway on the ‚meadow‘ deadlines cannot be respected … how will the whole Serbian part of Corridor 10 be completed by 2015? The south leg drilling through the mountain, 12km long, hasn’t even begun,“ Mahmud Busatlija, adviser for development and investment says.
„For that particular drilling in Sicevacka Canyon, technically, at least five years is required, no matter what mega-machines are in use,“ he warns.
Two state-run companies, Putevi Srbije [Roads of Serbia] and Koridori Srbije [Corridors of Serbia], are responsible for the construction and are partially funding the project, with international banks financing the remainder. Roads of Serbia, responsible for the older but uncompleted sections of the highway, is financing the project from the state budget — an arrangement that presents a distinct problem for completing construction.
„In the last month, three public tenders were carried out to open 70km of new roads. But new tenders remain to be carried out in the next period,“ Sanja Stavrić, Corridors of Serbia PR manager told SETimes.
Funds are always a huge problem, mostly because compensation to land owners comes from the state budget, not the World Bank, the European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development or European Investment Bank.
Even if funds were not an issue, the land registers and small business capacity of local administrations are added obstacles for a quick resolution to slow highway construction.