First stretch of Kosovo highway completed

The first stretch of the 102-kilometer Highway, connecting Kosovo with Albania, has been completed and opened for traffic one year ahead of schedule and within budget.
Kosovar leaders, including Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, President Atifete Jahjaga, and members of Parliament, along with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and U.S. Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Gary Peters (D-MI) joined thousands of Kosovars to celebrate at an opening ceremony.

“This is a story of success. This project is not only the successful achievement of the Kosovar government, it will build our country’s infrastructure based on the best international standards and demonstrates the ability of this administration to manage the challenges of such a huge project. But most of all, it is part of the history and success of the Kosovar people, all of these men and women of Kosovo who are putting all their skills and efforts together with Bechtel and Enka to make this dream come true. These first 38 kilometers (24 miles) represent the new reality of a new country, Kosovo,” said Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
The newly-opened route runs 38 kilometers between Morine, at the border with Albania, and an area north of Suhareka. Upon completion, the full motorway will extend to the north of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, and will serve as the centerpiece of Kosovo’s national transport system, helping to promote trade and economic development in Kosovo and throughout the region.

“We are committed to helping Kosovo build its country and economy: 70 percent of the workforce on the project has been local Kosovars; some 80 local contractors and hundreds of local suppliers have worked on the project,” said Mike Adams, president of Bechtel’s civil infrastructure unit. “We would like to thank the Kosovar government for an excellent working relationship, which has helped us to complete the first part of the motorway within budget and a year ahead of schedule.”

Construction started on the Kosovo motorway in April 2010. Bechtel and Enka’s optimum alignment solution avoided the requirement to build nearly five kilometers of tunnel, resulting in significant cost savings for the government. Together, Bechtel and Enka have successfully delivered several major infrastructure projects in the region including motorways in Albania, Croatia, and Turkey. Enka Chairman Sinan Tara added, “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.”

The highway is scheduled for completion in 2013.