The EU has launched one of the biggest Cohesion Policy-funded projects in the EU and in Croatia with an EU contribution of €357 million, the ‘Pelješac bridge’.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “The Pelješac bridge will improve the economic development and the territorial cohesion of South Dalmatia and Croatia as a whole.”
“This is a project of great importance for both Croatia and for the EU. This bridge is a symbol of European solidarity and support to Croatia in financial and political terms. It will improve the lives of citizens on the ground and will be part of the development history of Croatia.”
Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, said: “I want to congratulate Croatia for the tremendous work. The EU is about building bridges, connecting territories and people. We do this metaphorically every day. Today, we are adding real bridges, real connections with the same goal: bringing people together and making our Union and Member States stronger.”
The new bridge will connect the southernmost part of Croatia and Dubrovnik to the rest of mainland Croatia, by crossing the Mali Ston Bay over the Adriatic Sea.
This bridge will significantly improve the everyday life of Croatians – by reducing the travel time between Dubrovnik and Split – and travellers in the nearby areas. A smooth flow of goods and people will facilitate access to public services, such as healthcare, and economic services in the different sub-regional centres.
This seamless connection will also greatly benefit tourism, trade and will reinforce the territorial cohesion of the region.
The Pelješac bridge will be 55m high, thus allowing a free transit of the vessels and 2.4 km long, with four lanes.
The EU is also funding infrastructures linked to the bridge, such as the construction of access roads, including tunnels, bridges and viaducts, the building of an 8km-long bypass near the town of Ston and the upgrade of the existing road D414. The bridge and parts of the access roads are operational as from today, while the final phase of the project and the Ston bypass are expected to be finalized by the end of 2023.