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FEATURE STORY

Serbia's Corridor X Paves a Path through the Heart of the Western Balkans

August 11, 2010

DIMITROVGRAD, August 11, 2010 — The Dimitrovgrad by-pass on the Serbian Corridor X Motorway, financed by a World Bank loan, is taking shape amid the mud left from heavy rains in the area.

Three months after, the World Bank Country Director and Regional Coordinator for South-East Europe Jane Armitage and the speaker of the Serbian Parliament Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, officially opened the works on the by-pass, Loup Brefort, the World Bank Country Manager in Serbia, accompanied by representatives of the Corridor X LTD Company, came to Dimitrovgrad to see the situation on the ground for himself.

Because of its geographical location in the heart of the Western Balkans, transit traffic can become an important driver of economic activity for Serbia, re-invigorating the tradition of Serbia as a bridge between East and West, North and South,” says Brefort"Corridor X is a critical part of this vision. Further , it has been shown that road building not only provides jobs and a whole range of business opportunities in the short-term, but the existence of good roads is also an effective investment to encourage regional development in the medium-term.”

Vasil Vidanov, a local citizen of Dimitrovgrad, came to the construction site to check out for himself if those huge excavators really were dredging the soil. “Finally we can see concrete progress in the works on the motorway! Many have promised to build it in the past, but it is only now happening,” says Vidanov. “Our lives will improve. We won’t have congestion in the town anymore. I am happy to see things will get better in Serbia.”

The World Bank is supporting the Serbian government with $388 million – the largest World Bank loan to Serbia – to develop two missing links on Corridor X: 1) between Niš and Dimitrovgrad, and 2) between Niš and the border with FYR of Macedonia.

The Corridor X Highway Project will make a major difference both to the users of the road, with faster, safer journeys, and the people who live along the roads, removing the danger of high levels of traffic from the center of communities, improving access to essential social services, and increasing employment opportunities. 


" The project is likely to lead to more transit traffic, which itself will bring additional benefits to Serbia in the form of additional toll revenue to maintain the roads. Finally, and most importantly in these difficult times, the project will also make a substantial contribution to the Serbian economy "

Jane Armitage

World Bank Country Director and Regional Coordinator for South-East Europe

It will reduce the cost of transport for all goods, thereby reducing the cost of imports and will also contribute to making exports more competitive,” explains Armitage. “The project is likely to lead to more transit traffic, which itself will bring additional benefits to Serbia in the form of additional toll revenue to maintain the roads. Finally, and most importantly in these difficult times, the project will also make a substantial contribution to the Serbian economy."

The beginning of the works on the Dimitrovgrad by-pass opened a new, unexpected possibility for the development of this poor region, in the South-East of Serbia – tourism. Namely, along the route of the future motorway, archeologists uncovered a two thousand year old Roman road, known as “Via Militaria”. The construction of the new, modern road will not endanger the old one – the construction team helped preserve the historical heritage of “Via Militaria”. 

Serbian section of Corridor X is part of two important Pan-European transport infrastructure networks. One is connecting Budapest with the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, the other linking Greece to the north. However, despite their importance, nationally and internationally, currently not all sections of Corridor X in Serbia are of Motorway Standard. The key missing links on Corridor X on the road network in Serbia are:

• The construction of the second 2-lane carriageway on 118 km of motorway between Horgoš - Novi Sad (Corridor Xb);

• The construction of a motorway on 98 km of the section of corridor between Niš and the border with Bulgaria at Dimitrovgrad (Corridor Xc);

• The construction of a motorway on the corridor between Grabovnica and the border with FYR Macedonia (Corridor Xd); and

• The completion of Sections 1-6 of Belgrade Bypass, which would form an important section of Corridor X.

The World Bank funded project will finance:

• Component 1 - The M-1 road to FYR of Macedonia (E-75) – Corridor Xd. This component involves the construction of two sections of motorway totaling 31.9 km between Grabovnica and Grdelica, and between Vladicin Han and Donji Neradovac (Corridor Xd);

• Component 2 - The M 1-12 Road to Bulgaria (E-80) – Niš – Dimitrovgrad - Corridor Xc. This component involves the construction of 8.67 km of motorway on a section of the corridor between Dimitrovgrad and the border with Bulgaria;

• Component 3 - Road Safety: This component, inter alia, will support the establishment of a Lead Agency in the form of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), the development of a national road safety strategy, and the creation of a road safety performance framework; and

• Component 4 - Implementation Assistance and Institutional Support: This component will provide assistance to the implementation entity, K10DOO, involving, inter alia, the supervision of the civil works, the supervision of the environmental and expropriation aspects of the project, independent technical audit of the works, and other necessary operational expenses. Further technical assistance will be provided to develop a reform action plan for the reform of PEPS, and after approval, support to implement it.


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