Peljesac Bridge inauguration ceremony kicks off

NEWS 26.07.2022 21:55
Source: Igor Kralj/PIXSELL

"The ceremony of the formal opening of Peljesac Bridge began on Tuesday evening at the Komarna rest area where numerous office-holders, guests and citizens came to attend this event," state agency Hina reported.

“The importance of Peljesac Bridge for Croatia is multiple. In the economic sense, it improves road connectivity with the southernmost parts of the country and thus facilitates the local economy. The improved connectivity enables better access to healthcare services and education for local residents,” Hina said.

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“The EU-funded project has enabled Croatia to restore its territorial continuity after 304 years. The territorial discontinuity was caused by a 1699 peace treaty under which the Dubrovnik Republic, or the Republic of Ragusa, ceded the stretch of the coast around Neum to the Ottoman Empire,” Hina said.

At the time, the maritime state of Ragusa ceded these areas to the Ottomans to create buffer zones separating its territory from the Dalmatian holdings controlled by its arch-rival Venice. North of Ragusa, the ceded territory was around the town of Neum, and south of Ragusa this was around the village of Sutorina near the Bay of Kotor in present-day Montenegro.

Over the centuries, the formerly Venetian parts of the Dalmatian coast and the once independent Ragusa became part of Croatia, while Neum and the small coastal strip around it was inherited by Bosnia and Herzegovina. It serves today as the country’s only access to the Adriatic Sea. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, this Bosnian strip of land effectively turned the southernmost part of Croatia into an exclave, as overland travel towards Dubrovnik was only possible by going through Bosnia.

“Work on the bridge officially started on 31 July 2018 and the bridge was fully joined together at a ceremony on 29 July 2021. The entire project, including access roads, cost €525 million, including €357 million was secured as a grant from the European Union,” Hina said.

The bridge was designed by Slovenian architect Marjan Pipenbaher and built by a Chinese state-owned company, the China Bridge and Road Corporation (CBRC), with construction material and workers imported from China. The opening ceremony will include a video message from the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang.

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