In the last days of 2016 the Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning completed changes to the location permit for the connection road between Ravča exit on the A1 highway to the ferry port in Drvenik, a long awaited green light for the continuation of a large infrastructure project worth over 750 million kuna to connect the Biokovo mountain hinterland and Makarska Riviera, Slobodna Dalmacija reported on January 10, 2017.
"Less than a year ago upon a motion by the town of Vrgorac the mayors and district heads of the Makarska Riviera, middle Dalmatian islands, Pelješac peninsula and western Hercegovina met to present to the new government the importance of the Ravča-Drvenik tunnel as part of the connection road from A1 to the ferry port in Drvenik," said Vrgorac Mayor Ante Pranić of events preceding this important document, adding the meeting was also attended by Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Zlatko Ževrnja and Dubrovnik-Neretva County Deputy Prefect Davorko Obuljen.
The result of the meeting was a signed joint conclusion sent to the Croatian government regarding the initiative.
Satisfied with the accomplishment, but also aware the necessary procedure to obtain a construction permit for the project, Pranić and his fellow colleagues from the Sućuraj district on Hvar Ivan Slavić and Gradac district on the Makarska Riviera Ivan Kosović are planning to hold a new meeting, at the end of the current month, this time on Hvar island, with invitations to representatives of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure. Their intention is, according to Pranić, to remind of the importance of obtaining a construction permit for this corridor, necessary for the Ministry to apply the project for EU funds. Among the conditions needed is to include the corridor in the Transportation Strategy of Croatia, as well as short-term plans of Croatian Highways.
"This project advances regional connectivity in passenger transportation and further strenghtens territorial cohesion," Pranić added.
"The connection road represents the shortest road connection to Drvenik port which may in the future become the primary ferry port for middle Dalmatian islands (Hvar, Korčula, Lastovo) and Pelješac peninsula," noted Pranić, adding this project would create the shortest road connection of Croatia and Europe with the middle Dalmatian islands.
The importance of the connection road is seen in the fact it is the missing link in establishing the shortest and fastest transit corridor for cargo and passengers between Bosnia&Herzegovina and south Makarska Riviera as well as middle Dalmatian islands.
Besides the transportation connectivity, the project would greatly influence the development of tourism in this part of Croatia.
"Better, more efficient and faster traffic connection of the mainland with the islands is one of key conditions in the development of Croatian tourism," argued Pranić in favour of the corridor and as an example noted the eastern part of Hvar island which due to poor traffic connectivity has not achieved its tourism development capacity.