Connectivity Agenda: New ten kilometres towards the EU

Construction works on the northernmost section of Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina – the Svilaj – Odžak motorway have been successfully completed. The newly built 10.7 km of highway, built in line with EU standards, belong to the extended Mediterranean Core Network Corridor and will connect Bosnia and Herzegovina with the European Union through the future cross-border bridge with Croatia at Svilaj on the Sava River.

Already open to local traffic to the benefits of communities in this part of BiH, the Odžak – Svilaj motorway is a modern road infrastructure, which will enable better regional cooperation and connectivity between BiH and the EU. Once fully in operation, the motorway will allow for travel speeds of 120km/h, thus significantly reducing travel time through Bosnia and Herzegovina into Croatia.

Recognising the importance of this project for regional connectivity in the Balkans, the European Union has allocated 25.09 million euros in grants to co-finance construction of this motorway, the cross-border bridge over the Sava River in Svilaj and a modern border crossing“, said Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to BiH Melvin Asin, during a site on 11 December which marked the completion of construction works. “This is not just a few kilometres of road built, but the beginning of implementing our regional Connectivity Agenda in BiH which brings tangible benefits for people and businesses,” said Asin.

The new motorway increases opportunities for economic development in this area and employment of the local population. “Odžak Municipality has become very interesting for investors from the EU because it is on the tri-junction Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo“, said Darko Kasap, Minister of Economy and Physical Planning of the Posavina Canton.

This is the first component of a connectivity project in the entire Western Balkans region to have been completed, including with grant support from the European Union. We have managed to ensure the funds for the works, which we will reimburse from the loan and re-direct them into further development“, said Adnan Terzić, Director of the FBiH Motorway Company.

This connectivity investment concerns the construction of 10.7 km of state-of-the art motorway, a cross-border bridge over the River Sava into Croatia, and a cross-border facility on the Svilaj – Odžak section of Corridor Vc/the Mediterranean Core Network Corridor. The European Union made available grant funds worth in total EUR 25.09 million for its implementation through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) together with loans from European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The investment complements three other projects undertaken by Bosnia and Herzegovina with the purpose of building a motorway along the entire Mediterranean Corridor within its borders: Doboj South – Sarajevo South; Sarajevo South (Tarčin) – Mostar North; and Mostar North – Bijača, on the southern border with Croatia.