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Interview: Croatia unimaginable without Peljesac Bridge, says Croatian Roads chief

Updated: December 21, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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ZAGREB, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Croatia would be unimaginable without the Peljesac Bridge built by a consortium of Chinese enterprises led by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), Josip Skoric, general manager of the state-run road operator Croatian Roads, told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday.

"We recently received recognition from Croatian citizens, who voted the Peljesac Bridge the best project in the past ten years. This was a recognition of the importance of that project," Skoric said, adding that the Peljesac Bridge was a "monument" that marked Croatia's entry into the European Union (EU) ten years ago.

In a recent survey conducted by the Central Agency for Financing and Contracting of Programs and Projects of the European Union, one of the bodies in charge of managing programs and projects financed from the EU budget in Croatia, Croatians identified three out of the 32 EU-funded projects without which the country would be unimaginable and the Peljesac Bridge came top of the list.

According to Skoric, the survey result has proved that people from all over Croatia recognize the importance of the Peljesac Bridge, "an exceptional construction and infrastructure project that has brought people together, strengthened economic and cultural ties, and improved the daily life of many local residents."

In addition to tourism, the Peljesac Bridge has also boosted a lot of other economic activities from transport to agriculture as so far some 3.5 million vehicles have passed through it since its opening on July 26 last year, Skoric said, adding that Croatian Roads has received feedback from all over the country, especially from local people, about how much the bridge has meant to them.

The CRBC-led Chinese consortium constructed the 2.4-kilometer-long bridge that connects Croatia's mainland with the Peljesac Peninsula on the country's southern Adriatic coast. Since its inauguration, the bridge has significantly cut travel time to the Adriatic coast, promoted transport and increased economic opportunities for the region and has been hailed by people from all walks of life in Croatia.

Describing the CRBC as a "respectable" contractor, Skoric hailed the hard work, professional spirit and technical innovation of the Chinese side in building the bridge, as technically, it was "an extremely demanding" project, and the COVID-19 pandemic just made the project even more challenging.

"We have never built a facility like this before," he said, adding that despite all the unpredictable challenges, the CRBC managed to finish the work on time and "we can say that we are very satisfied with the deadline under the circumstances in which the work was performed."

The Croatian Roads chief said he was confident that the CRBC will be able to finish on time the construction of a 6.85-kilometer section of road in Split in southern Croatia. The agreement was inked in September this year by the two sides and with a time limit of three years.

Editor: Duan Jing