Kosovo road opens early

By Sandy Guthrie15 November 2011

Contractor Bechtel and its joint-venture partner Enka constructed the Route 7 motorway in Kosovo.

Contractor Bechtel and its joint-venture partner Enka constructed the Route 7 motorway in Kosovo.

The first stretch of the 102km Kosovo motorway has been completed a year ahead of schedule and within budget, according to Bechtel and its joint venture partner, Enka.

The newly-opened route runs for 38km between Morinë, at the border with Albania, and an area north of Suhareka. The full motorway will extend to the north of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, and is intended to serve as the centrepiece of Kosovo's national transport system, helping to promote trade and economic development in Kosovo and throughout the region.

Construction started in April 2010 and the motorway is scheduled for completion in 2013. Bechtel and Enka's optimum alignment solution is said to have avoided a need for nearly 5km of tunnel, resulting in significant cost savings for the government.

Kosovan leaders joined thousands of Kosovans to celebrate at an opening ceremony, where Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi said, "This is a story of success. This project is not only the successful achievement of the Kosovan government, it will build our country's infrastructure based on the best international standards.

"These first 38km represent the new reality of a new country, Kosovo."

Mike Adams, president of Bechtel's civil infrastructure unit, added, "We are committed to helping Kosovo build its country and economy - 70% of the workforce on the project has been local Kosovans; some 80 local contractors and hundreds of local suppliers have worked on the project."

Together, Bechtel and Enka have delivered several major infrastructure projects in the region including motorways in Albania, Croatia, and Turkey.

Enka chairman Sinan Tara said, "We're delighted to be working on such a prestigious project. The motorway will be a key pillar in the development of the transportation infrastructure for Kosovo, providing access to international markets."

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