Croatia’s PelJesac bridge opens to traffic

By Mike Hayes02 August 2022

The 2.4km Peljesac bridge, connecting northern and southern parts of Croatia, has finally been opened to traffic.

Croatia’s 2.4km Peljesac bridge, built by China’s CRBC

Up to this point, traffic moving between northern and southern Croatia had to pass through Bosnia, stopping at two customs checkpoints. The bridge avoids this, as well as cutting travel time along the Adriatic coastline by an average of 37 minutes.

The four-year project was undertaken by the Chinese state-owned company, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), with a contract for additional infrastructure work – including 32.5km of new roads, plus tunnels and bridges – awarded to Austrian contractor Strabag.

Total investment in the bridge project is estimated to be approximately €526 million, with €357 million coming from the European Union’s (EU) cohesion funds.

The award represents the EU’s largest ever investment in infrastructure in Croatia.

Designed by the Croatian architect Marjan Pipenbaher, the bridge’s structure includes 13 spans, with five central spans each being 285m long.

The bridge has a total height of 97.9m and has six 33m-high centrally installed pylons made of reinforced concrete.

The deck – originally designed at a height of 35m, was later raised to 55m, allowing the passage of commercial ships.

The bridge, which has two lanes, plus a hard shoulder for bridge maintenance, is now open to vehicles, but the entire project will not be concluded until the last phase – the Ston bypass – is finalised at the end of 2023.

It is anticipated that 7,800 vehicles will use the bridge every day upon its opening, with twice that number anticipated by 2046.

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