Kosovo motorway opens ahead of schedule
By Helen Wright26 November 2013
Contractor Bechtel and its joint-venture partner Enka have finished constructing a 77.4km motorway in Kosovo a year ahead of schedule.
The €800 million contract for the four-lane Route 7 motorway included 15 bridges and runs from Morina at the southwest border with Albania to Trude, north of the capital Pristina.
Bechtel said collaboration with the Kosovo government and communities was critical to completing the project early.
The new motorway will serve as the centrepiece of Kosovo’s national transport system and is expected to expand trade opportunities between Kosovo and its neighbouring countries.
Bechtel said the Kosovo government planned to tender another section of Route 7 which will extend the overall length to 102km and connect it at the border with Serbia.
The motorway was constructed in three and a half years, and Bechtel said the joint venture placed a priority on hiring a local workforce. It said more than 10,000 locals received training as a result of the project.
Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi said the motorway had been a national dream.
“Journey times between Tirana and Pristina will be reduced by up to three-quarters, and we will be able to trade more effectively with our neighbours and even further afield. We are grateful to the team that has made this possible and contributed to our future economic and social growth,” he said.
Peter Dawson, president of Bechtel’s civil infrastructure business, said, “Collaboration with the Kosovo government and the people of Kosovo was essential to the success of this project.”