Cross-border bridge on the River Sava at Gradiška officially connected

Steel construction works on the cross-border bridge at Gradiška, one of the most important projects on the River Sava connecting Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, were finalised today. The European Union is co-funding the building of this vital bridge with 3.2 million euros in grants. The bridge is one of the most important projects on the Sava River and will enable an essential transport connection between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, as well as the rest of Europe. The ceremony was attended by Stefano Ellero, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojin Mitrović, Minister of Transport of BiH, Tomislav Mihotić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure of Croatia and Matej Zakonjšek, Director of the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat.

“The European Union has been a key partner in creation of this core road transport network connecting Bosnia and Herzegovina with Europe. Just two weeks ago, the Svilaj bridge was officially opened by the President of the European Commission and, as she stated, this symbolic act of connecting two parts means connecting people and cultures. This comes at a key time in the period of recovery from the pandemic and its impact on the economy and lives of citizens; this will boost trade, economic recovery and growth,” said Stefano Ellero.

Once fully finished and opened to transport, the Gradiška bridge will significantly reduce waiting times at the border and facilitate a faster and safer route for businesses and citizens of the country and region, leading to improved growth and new job opportunities. The project is an important step towards the integration of the Western Balkans within the European Union’s Connectivity Agenda, intended to improve infrastructural links in the region.

“This bridge will connect the two economies and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the European Union. We expect that the works will be completed in May next year and that the bridge and the border crossing will be fully functional in the next year to a year and a half, following the completion of the access roads. We launched the initiative to have an integrated border crossing, which would be one of the first of its kind between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans,” said Minister Mitrović.

Tomislav Mihotić noted that following the opening of Svilaj bridge, the bridge will be an important connection between the countries, due to its unique geographical position. “In addition to faster traffic, the new bridge will improve the economic growth of both countries and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be closer to Europe. We hope to continue cooperation and jointly realise other projects in the River Sava region to integrate and connect the region,” said Mihotić.

This bridge will not only connect the two countries but also the Western Balkans with the European Union. Once fully completed and functional, 2,400 vehicles will cross it daily, which will improve the border crossing capacities and bring together the countries’ economies. This bridge is a symbol that Bosnia and Herzegovina is connecting with its neighbours, with the European Union, with Europe and that is exactly what we want,” remarked Matej Zakonjšek.

The European Union has so far allocated over 225 million euros in grants for 13 projects in the transport sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina along Corridor Vc, connecting Bosnia and Herzegovina with EU capitals and bringing people and countries closer.