Croatian Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković said on Friday, while taking part in the ceremony of laying the symbolic foundation stone for the construction of a bridge over the Sava river at Svilaj, that Bosnia and Herzegovina could expect the support of Croatian government for building two additional bridges near Gradiška and Brčko, reports Večernji List on March 18, 2017.
Minister said that the bridge across the Sava river at Svilaj near Odžak, on the route of the future motorway Budapest-Osijek-Sarajevo-Ploče, was a very important infrastructure project that would allow the strengthening and economic growth of both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He stressed that it was in the Croatian interest to develop infrastructure links with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that the neighbouring country could expect the support of Croatian government for other joint projects as well.
The ceremony was also attended by Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdić and European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who said that the European Union had invested more than 90 million euros in the project to construct the bridge at Svilaj, which on the Bosnian side also includes the construction of 11 kilometres of motorway and accompanying facilities.
“All of these initiatives aim to accelerate entry into the European Union. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to improve the economy and infrastructure, which will allow BiH to move further on its journey to the EU”, said Hahn, adding that the bridge at Svilaj would enable further development of relations between Bosnia and Croatia.
Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdić said that the project of building the bridge at Svilaj was an indication that Bosnia and Herzegovina had benefited greatly from European integration. “This project best demonstrates and shows that, in addition to the reforms we are carrying out, Bosnia has the benefits from the EU accession”, said Zvizdić, adding that it was important for his country to develop transport connections.
The bridge across the Sava river between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is located on the Pan-European Road Corridor 5C from Budapest via Osijek to Ploče in southern Croatia. It will be 660 metres long, and its construction will cost 22.3 million euros. The construction costs will be shared by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, largely relying on EU funds. The actual construction works for the bridge started in September last year.