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BELGRADE (Serbia), September 13 (SeeNews) – Serbia has signed a 100 million euro ($111 million) loan deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance the construction of the Nis-Merdare motorway in Serbia, the bank said.
The project will also be supported by 48 million euro in grants under the Western Balkans Investment Framework platform (WBIF), consisting of a 40.6 million euro investment grant and a 7.4 million euro technical assistance grant for project preparation, the EIB said in a statement on Thursday.
The 255 million euro project concerns the construction of the first 32 km-long section out of 100 km in total of a motorway - also called the Highway of Peace - connecting Nis, one of the largest cities in Serbia, with Pristina in Kosovo.
“This highway will improve road safety and efficiency, while enabling better connectivity within the region. Even more so, this project is a concrete example of increasing cooperation and reconciliation between the peoples of Serbia and Kosovo,” EU Commissioner for Mobility and Transport Violeta Bulc said, according to the statement.
The project includes the construction of four grade-separated junctions, six tunnels ranging from 200 to 1,200 metres long, nine major bridges between 100 and 1,000 metres long, as well as rest areas, a local control centre and platforms for service stations, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
“This highway is significant both for its regional connectivity – as it will connect Serbia with Albanian ports on Adriatic Sea – and for the faster development of the districts in Southern and Central Serbia that the new highway will connect,” Serbian deputy prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said.
The 77 km Nis-Merdare motorway is part of a road link extending to Albania's capital Tirana and further on to the country's Adriatic port of Durres.
($ = 0.902517 euro)