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Oct 31, 2022 14:36 EEST
October 31 (SeeNews) - North Macedonia said it began works on a 200 million euro ($199 million) project for rehabilitation and construction of the railway that will link the country to the border with Bulgaria and become part of European transport Corridor VIII.
The project consists of rehabilitation of the Kumanovo - Beljakovce section - an investment worth 40 million euro, and completion of construction of the Beljakovce - Kriva Palanka section - an investment worth 155 million euro, the transport and communications ministry said in a press release on Saturday.
The Kumanovo - Beljakovce section is 31 kilometres long and its reconstruction is projected to last until 2024. The Beljakovce - Kriva Palanka section is 34 kilometres long, and its construction is envisaged to last until 2025.
The third section, 23.5 kilometres in length, from Kriva Palanka to the border with Bulgaria, remains high on the agenda of North Macedonia's government, the transport ministry said.
"At this point, the infrastructure project has been approved, and our teams are already working with teams from Bulgaria to develop the procedures for the joint railway station and tunnel," the ministry said. "We expect already next year to issue a public call and start the construction of the last section of the railway link, for which we already have available 61 million euro from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance programme (IPA) as well as 155 million euro from the Western Balkans Investment Framework of the European Union (WBIF)."
North Macedonia has received a loan of nearly 200 million euro from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the works on the first two sections.
The overhaul of the Kumanovo - Beljakovce section will be carried out by an Austrian construction company, Strabag. The section from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka will be constructed by Turkish company Gülermak, the EBRD said in a separate statement.
In 2021, Bulgaria, Albania and North Macedonia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to build sustainable infrastructure along European Corridor VIII, committing to completing the remaining parts of the transport route by 2030.
Corridor VIII is an east-west route, connecting the Albanian Adriatic port of Durres to the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna via North Macedonia. Pan-European transport corridors are major international traffic arteries, which will help each rail and road, sometimes combined, for economic exchange of goods and recovery in Eastern Europe.
($ = 1.01 euro)
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