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BELGRADE (Serbia), November 11 (SeeNews) – Serbia has opened for traffic the entire eastern section of pan-European Corridor X linking the city of Nis to the border with Bulgaria on November 9, the Serbian government said.
The total length of the corridor on Serbian territory is 813 km and its opening will provide local companies with access to the Bulgarian Black Sea ports of Burgas and Varna, president Aleksandar Vucic said in a press release issued by the Serbian government.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided 265 million euro ($292.4 million) for the construction of the Corridor X motorway, which represents some 40% of the total costs of this major infrastructure project in Serbia, the lender said in a separate statement on Monday.
"This is one of the most significant transport infrastructure projects Serbia has seen in recent years, and what I particularly welcome is its cross-border dimension. Corridor X helps to connect and integrate Balkan countries with the European Union, thereby having a positive impact on people’s everyday lives via increased economic growth, transport safety and capacity," EIB vice-president Lilyana Pavlova said in the statement.
The commissioning of the final 22 kilometre stretch of the eastern section of Corridor X will allow drivers travelling from Nis to the Bulgarian border to bypass the Sicevo Gorge, Vucic said during the inauguration ceremony.
To tackle the challenges of the difficult mountainous terrain, the construction of 87 bridges and five tunnels was required, EIB noted.
Corridor X is of great importance for the Bulgarian economy too, Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov said at the opening ceremony.
Driving on the 86.9-long Corridor X section linking Nis to Dimitrovgrad, close to the border with Bulgaria, will be free of charge until December 1, after which it will cost 1,200 dinars, the Serbian government said.
Corridor X will connect Salzburg in Austria to the Greek port of Thessaloniki, passing through Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia. In Serbia, the project includes the Belgrade bypass motorway, as well as two separate sections, linking Nis to Levosoje, near the border with North Macedonia, to the south, and to the border with Bulgaria to the east.
($ = 0.906411 euro)