Construction works on the Peljesac Bridge are in full swing with ships and machines driving the pylons into the seabed. While Komarna residents where construction works began are happy, residents of southern Bosnian town of Neum are concerned over the drop in tourist traffic.
They are bringing in the equipment currently and around eight ships docked here in the past couple of days,” head of the Komarna local board, Ivo Jerkovic told N1.
Seventy-six of the total of 148 bridge pylons were driven into the seabed so far, and the rest are supposed to be placed by the end of May. The southern Croatian city of Komarna which numbers 200 residents, got another 170 new residents, from China.
“Some 170 Chinese are residing here. Around 100 of them have signed three-year lease contracts with me. We have a good influx of people right now, and more are expected to come,” Jerkovic added.
Komarna residents are confident that the bridge will be very useful to them – it will bring better connectivity with the rest of Croatia and cut down on traffic jams. They are also surprised by the speed at which the Chinese workers are building the bridge.
“No one could have done it better than them. They are super organised, and they never complain. They’re working 12-14 hour shifts when the weather allows them, and they’re doing a top job,” Komarna resident, Branko Babic said.
The Peljesac Bridge, which will be built by the Chinese consortium China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is intended to connect the Croatian mainland to the Peljesac peninsula.
It aims to bypass the 15-kilometre-long coastal strip around the town of Neum that belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina and is Bosnia's only access to the Adriatic sea. The bridge aims to improve road traffic links between the Dubrovnik area and the rest of the country by circumventing customs and border controls around Neum.
Neum, however, is divided about the project.
There are people for and against the project. There are good arguments on both sides. The bridge will relieve traffic congestion in Neum, especially during summer months but all facilities build down the highway will lose value,” Branimir Bugatin, from Neum’s Hotel Grand, said.
“Croatia is connecting its territory, and as far as Neum is concerned, we’ll have to create better conditions our selves and attract more guests,” the head of Neum Municipality, Zivko Matusko, told N1.
The bridge is expected to be built by the end of 2020.