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.