Monday, 18 October 2021

Can Peljesac Bridge Withstand Bura, Earthquakes, Maritime Incidents?

October the 18th, 2021 - With the construction of Peljesac bridge finally drawing to a close and with access roads being hurried along, questions about Croatia's most important strategic project which has united its territory have arisen. Can the bridge cope with strong bura or will it need to be closed? What if an earthquake strikes or if a large vessel runs into one of its pillars? An expert provided answers.

As Morski writes, Peljesac bridge with its elegant 2404 metres has surrounded Mali Ston Bay and finally connected Croatian territory. It blends harmoniously into the Dalmatian landscape, but also into a landscape that is not completely safe, either. The bridge is located in an area known for its very frequent seismic activity, where bura and other coastal winds are common and strong. Might a stronger earthquake bring it down, how many gusts of jugo or bura can it withstand, what if a ship crashes into it, and how will its load-bearing capacity and stability be monitored over the years to come?

The answers to these pressing questions came from Croatian roads/Hrvatske ceste, that is, directly from Goran Legac, the engineer who is leading the historic project of the road connection of southern Dalmatia with the rest of the country, as reported by tportal.

His job is to prepare the project, organise, control and supervise all of the participants and their activities and ensure that everything being done is in line with the set plans in terms of deadlines and finances. Simply put, he and his team of experts from various professions, along with the help of numerous surveillance services, are the ones ''hanging'' over the heads of the Chinese workers who are building Peljesac Bridge, the Greeks (Avax) and the Austrians (Strabag) whose task is to build all of the accompanying access roads.

''For the quality delivery of the construction work itself, the most important thing is announcing and controlling all of the technical specifications through project documentation that must be completed by the contractor. Conditionally speaking, we perform the project with the same goal, but often with a different approach. The contractor strives to optimise the project in order to earn as much as possible while achieving the required quality. The designer, on the other hand, deals with all the highest standards and norms in order to make the construction as durable as possible. And that's in the interest of the client, in this case Hrvatske ceste, because of the maintenance costs involved,'' explained Legac.

In the case of Peljesac bridge, maintenance costs will be of course by very high. In theory, these costs are calculated by dividing the value of the structure by the expected period of use.

''It's common to expect that in the projected life of a construction, let's say we're talking about a 100-or-so-year period, the construction and equipment of the bridge through regular and extraordinary maintenance will be completely repaired and then replaced. So if the construction cost two billion kuna, then at least that much more will be spent in 100 years on maintenance alone. Of course, these costs will be lower in the beginning, and will increase later in accordance with the contractor's guarantees,'' stated Legac.

What exactly has been done to make sure Peljesac bridge will withstand those 100 years, and hopefully much longer, without shortening its ''shelf life'' due to some of the natural disasters such as earthquakes or strong winds Croatia is no stranger to?

Several tectonic faultlines are located very close to the bridge...

Southern Croatia is one of the most seismic areas in the entire country. According to seismologists, the maximum intensity of earthquakes that can hit Dalmatia ranges from 6.3 to 7 degrees on the Richter scale. The fact that there are several faultlines very near to Peljesac bridge isn't particularly encouraging in this case, which is evident by looking at the scientific database of all European seismic faults.

Legac confirmed all this, but also pointed out that there is no room for fear.

''It's true that the bridge is located in a zone which has very high levels of seismic activity, with a design ground acceleration at the foundation level of 0.34 g, which is extremely strong. However, the structure is designed and constructed to withstand what earthquakes can cause without collapsing. The level of usability ensures sufficient rigidity so that the bridge can be used even after an earthquake strikes. So, Peljesac bridge can withstand even the strongest earthquakes that can be reasonably expected to strike the area,'' assured Legac.

He added huge steel pipes with a diameters of 1.8 metres and two metres, were used to base the pillars in the sea itself. Their length ranges from 36 to 130.9 metres. For comparison, the height of the Zagreb Cathedral is 108 metres. These pipes were driven down firmly into the seabed, with the 130.9-metre one being the world record holder because it is the largest ever to be driven down into one piece, as pipes of these lengths are usually put in in extensions.

In addition to being located in a highly seismic area, the location of Peljesac bridge is known for some extremely strong Dalmatian winds. Will we have the same situation as we unfortunately did with the Maslenica bridge, which closes to traffic when bura or jugo blows?

Legac assured that this will not be the case. Namely, during the design and construction, the problem of local winds was taken into account and the construction of the bridge was tested in an air tunnel, writes tportal.

''The analysis predicts wind gusts of as much as 180 kilometres per hour. From my experience, because I've lived near the bridge for about three and a half years now, in Mali Ston Bay the jugo is much more intense than the bura wind is. Along the entire length of the bridge on both sides there will be windbreaks 3.2 which are metres high. You can see similar windbreaks on the Baricevic viaduct on the highway near Sv. Rok. They are a guarantee that the traffic will run smoothly in almost all weather conditions up to a wind speed of 180 kilometres per hour,'' Legac pointed out, adding that there are windbreaks on the construction site and they are waiting for installation as well.

The pillars of Peljesac bridge can withstand the impact of a ship of 10 thousand tonnes.

In addition to natural issues such as earthquakes and wind, the design of the bridge had to take into account its navigation profile, which was insisted on by neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and some Bosnian politicians were known for their negative stance towards the very construction of the bridge. This guarantees extra protection for both vessels and the bridge itself. But what if a large ship crashes into one of the bridge's pillars? Can he knock it down?

''There are currently no shipping lines in this area. Nonetheless, a waterway passing through the central range is envisaged. Large ships will be able to sail under the bridge. This will prevent large ships from hitting the pillars,'' Legac said.

Even if such a situation were to occur, Peljesac bridge's strong pillars are designed to withstand the impact of a vessel, with those in the middle, between which the waterway passes, being able to fully withstand the impact of a medium-sized ship of 100 metres in length and weighing up to 10,000 tonnes.

Given the strategic importance of Peljesac bridge, the project envisages the installation of equipment for its continuous monitoring. Through it, various parameters will be monitored in real time.

''Concrete isn't eternal, as some claim it to be. You have the example of the Krk bridge, which has undergone four major reconstructions in 40 years. However, Peljesac bridge is built from concrete that has the most modern additives and is much stronger class than the concrete typically used before. Chemical technology has advanced the most in the field of construction, and all of this is a guarantee that Peljesac bridge will be able to serve us for a very long time to come,'' concluded Legac.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Croatian Road Toll Fees High Over Weekend, Close to Same Weekend of 2019

August the 14th, 2021 - Croatian road toll fees are experiencing excellent numbers so far this summer, with this past weekend being far beyond anyone's expectations from just a few months ago. Numbers like those we saw and took entirely for granted back in pre-pandemic record year of 2019 which seemed unattainable this time last year are becoming more and more of a reality.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Croatian Motorways is feeling the results of a truly excellent Croatian good tourist season so far in their business, which also recorded excellent results last weekend. From the 20th to the 22nd of August, 856.5 thousand vehicles passed at their toll booths and a massive 47.1 million kuna without VAT was collected in Croatian road toll fees.

When compared to the same weekend last year, when the turnover of 591.6 thousand vehicles and revenue of 31.5 million kuna in Croatian road toll fees was recorded, this figure marks a promising increase of 45 and 50 percent, respectively, and according to official HAC data, compared to the same weekend in In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, in which record results were also achieved, the number of vehicles this weekend was higher, but revenues were still slightly lower.

That weekend, two years ago, HAC recorded a turnover of 837.6 thousand cars and other vehicles, which means that last weekend the traffic was higher by 2 percent, and the state highways had a traffic of almost 19 thousand more vehicles.

However, Croatian road toll fees collected back then stood at about one percent higher, and on the same weekend in August in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, revenues amounted to 47.7 million kuna without VAT included.

The fact that with a larger number of vehicles there was no equal increase in revenue from freight, and it is slightly weaker, is partly a result of the fact that before the tourist season, as a government measure to attract tourists to come to Croatia, the so-called winter tariff, which is somewhat cheaper, remained in place for longer.

For more, follow our travel section.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

More Croatian Toll Fees Collected in 2021 With 25% More Vehicles on Road

August the 18th, 2021 - Croatian toll fees have felt the positive effects of the excellent summer tourist season so far, with a third more in such tolls being taken than pandemic-dominated 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the last weekend on all motorways under the jurisdiction of the Croatian Motorways (HAC), a turnover of 878.2 thousand vehicles was recorded and Croatian toll fees totalling a massive 49.01 million kuna were collected, which is an increase of 25 and 29 percent when compared to the same period last year, they announced on Monday from HAC.

During the weekend from the 13th to the 15th of August 2021, traffic on 878,191 vehicles and Croatian toll fees in the amount of 49.01 million kuna without VAT included were recorded on all of the country's motorways under the jurisdiction of HAC, the statement said.

When compared to the same weekend last year, when a turnover of 700,173 vehicles was recorded, and Croatian toll fees were collected in the amount of 38 million kuna without VAT, the number of vehicles has increased by a more than encouraging 25 percent and the amount in tolls collected has risen by 29 percent.

The growth in the number of vehicles on the country's motorways and the Croatian toll fees collected as a result of that increased traffic is a reflection of a much better tourist season than last year, when Croatia found itself in the "red" in mid-August on the eve of a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

HAC also made a comparison with the same weekend of the record, pre-pandemic tourist year of 2019, when 919,666 vehicles were on Croatian motorways under the jurisdiction of HAC, and the total toll fees collected amounted to a massive 52.1 million kuna without the inclusion of VAT.

As such, last weekend, vehicle traffic was lower by 4.5 percent, and the amount of tolls collected was lower by just six percent when compared to the same weekend in 2019.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Banovina Motorway Delayed Again Due to Public Tender Appeals

June the 23rd, 2021 - The Banovina motorway, often referred to as the Banovina ''rescue'' motorway has seen progress delayed once again following appeals launched.

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes, Croatian Motorways has just announced the receipt of an appeal against the public procurement tender for the selection of a contractor for the construction of a 300 million kuna section of the Zagreb-Sisak motorway, known as the Banovina motorway.

''The appeal filed against the change of procurement documentation prevents the continuation of public procurement,'' HAC said on the occasion of a new appeal being launched against the tender for the completion of the Zagreb-Sisak highway, more specifically for the section of the A11 highway from Lekenik to Sisak.

It should be noted that after HAC invited interested companies to submit their bids for the construction of the Lekenik-Sisak section on March the 8th this year, the Bulgarian company Trace Group Hold complained to the State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures (DKOM) on May the 27th.

However, DKOM rejected the appeal of the aforementioned Bulgarian company because, according to the explanation of the Commission, no proof of payment of the appeal fee was provided. This, however, only temporarily blocked the public tender for A11 because a new appeal was lodged.

According to HAC's original plan for the completion of the so-called Banovina motorway, the opening of the bids received for the tender was scheduled for May the 27th, which was postponed until further notice by Trace Group Hold's appeal. Therefore, the announcement of the Croatian Government that the construction of the Lekenik-Sisak section could start in autumn this year must be dropped.

According to the tender documentation, the company that will be entrusted with the construction of the Banovina motorway or ''rescue'' motorway is expected to complete the work within two years from the start of construction.

The state began building the 47.5-kilometre Zagreb-Sisak highway back in 2006 and cut it off in May 2009, completing the section from Mraclin to Busevac. Construction continued a few years later, and in 2015 the 11.2-kilometre-long Buševec-Lekenik section was completed, with almost all activities being halted for many years. The construction of the A11 was intensified after the earthquake that hit Sisak and Banovina back in December last year and was declared the ''rescue highway'' for the area.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Croatian Motorways Ready for Tourism Season with Even More Amenities

June 1, 2021 – Investments in the yearly maintenance of Croatian motorways are sizeable, but justified when compared to the revenue generated, particularly during the summer season.

Croatian motorways are a crucial part of Croatia’s tourism infrastructure. They are also a very important factor in connecting various regions of the country. The topography of Croatia often makes local roads inefficient. Year after year majority of guests coming to Croatia with cars have very positive comments on the motorway system. However, the entire thing doesn’t come cheap.

With the constant need for maintenance and updating, Hrvatske Autoceste (Croatian Motorways Ltd - HAC) is hard at work every year to prepare the infrastructure for the summer season. The surge of cars on Croatian roads will once again happen in a year, starting in June. Index.hr reports Croatian Motorways Ltd invested 404.9 million kn (around 54 million EUR) into this year’s maintenance and upgrading of the motorway system. Much of this money has been invested in rest stops along the motorways. This is one part of the investment travellers to Croatia will immediately feel. Upgrades made in rest stops are mostly in interiors, bathrooms, and operational technology. HAC also notes the emergency services are going to be reinforced.

New and Updated Services

Along with the standard 24/7 road assistance patrolling the motorways, additional contractors will provide more complex roadside and system maintenance services. Teams of emergency medical services and over thirty vehicles with automatic defibrillators will be on hand as well. Much like the majority of other businesses, HAC expects higher revenues in 2021 than the previous year. In 2020 the numbers were very low due to COVID19 pandemic restrictions. Because of this, HAC started this year with around a hundred employees less than 2020. Estimated revenue from motorway tolls in Croatia this year is 2,18 billion kn (around 290 million EUR).

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 25 January 2021

Falling Snow Causes Treacherous Conditions on Croatian Roads

January 25, 2021 – Released images show falling snow is causing extremely difficult conditions on some Croatian roads, both motorways and state roads, with the mountainous regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar most affected

Any optimists living in Zagreb could be forgiven for thinking winter was over. Over a succession of two days last week they were basking in the relatively balmy daytime temperatures of 16 degrees. The sun shone brightly, the boots stayed indoors and lighter jackets were thrown on to visit the shops. Not everyone in Zagreb is an optimist, though. And those with an experience that is greater than their hope knew the reality of the situation; Croatia's winter can turn round at any moment to bite you in the ass.

croatia-4082276_1920.jpgSnow covering the Lika region

And that's exactly what happened this weekend, when falling snow produced treacherous driving conditions across a wide area of Croatia. On some motorways, a ban on trucks with trailers and tractors with semi-trailers is in place because of the continually falling snow. Another response to the falling snow has been to make winter vehicle equipment mandatory.

HAK1.jpegA thick layer of snow covers the road near Delnice at 19.14 on Sunday 24 January 2021 © HAK

While the Croatian capital was experiencing its warm spell, falling snow continued to descend on more mountainous regions of the country, Lika and Gorski Kotar in particular. And it is those that remain most affected by the treacherous driving conditions. Hrvatske Autoceste (Croatian Motorways) are responding to the continuing weather conditions. But, they released pictures of one motorway section near Delnice which, even after plowing, was 30 minutes later again covered by the falling snow.

HAK2.jpegA snowplow arrives at 19.15 to clear the snow © HAK

Thick falling snow and ice made it difficult to drive on the A6 Zagreb - Rijeka highway. The National Association of Drivers and Vehicle Owners (HAK) issued a series of warnings for the following routes: A1 Zagreb-Split-Ploče between the junctions of Bosiljevo II and Maslenica, A6 Rijeka-Zagreb between the junctions of Bosiljevo II and Kikovica, state road DC1 between Zagorje and Gračac and state road DC3 through Gorski Kotar between Zdihovo and Kikovica.

HAK3.jpegBy 19.45 the road is in the same state as before the snowplow arrived, because of continually falling snow © HAK

HAK also reported that there is currently no passable road for trucks with trailers and tractors with semi-trailers from the direction of the continental interior towards Rijeka and Istria and Dalmatia and vice versa. The colder temperatures are expected to stick around for most of the early part of the week, although the skies may be clearer in some regions. Temperatures will rise again heading towards next weekend under an increasing cloud cover, but the chilly conditions might well bounce back towards the end of next weekend. Zagreb itself could even experience more snowfall at that time.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Porsche Boxster Celebrates 25 Years with Video on Croatian Roads

January 17, 2021 - Porsche Boxster celebrates 25 years with a stunning new promotional video on Croatian roads.

The cult car brand Porsche Boxster is celebrating its 25th birthday, and a video filmed in Croatia was presented a week ago for the big anniversary. Porsche has thus joined the company of several car brands that have chosen Croatia, and Croatian roads, to film their videos.

The Adriatic Highway was built in the 1950s and 60s and offers a beautiful view of Croatian nature in almost its entire length of 650 kilometers. Index.hr reports that the roads on the island of Pag and the Adriatic Highway stood out as the most popular locations in this 1:37 minute video.

Drivers and fans of octane sports consider the D25 Karlobag - Gospić section of the Adriatic Highway to be one of Croatia's most beautiful roads, where the bends are said to be a pleasure to drive. Porsche has also chosen to capture this location to celebrate Boxster's 25th birthday. Namely, the video sets off on a hill towards Gospić, and on the ascent, it captures several beautiful shots with a view of the Adriatic. 

HRTurizam writes that this is excellent advertising for Croatia because globally known brands can only help Croatia's image around the world. It also pushes other companies to come to Croatia to film their promotional videos, but also to shoot movies and series, as we have seen in many examples thus far, like Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik or, most recently, Amazon Prime film 'Bliss' in Split. 

It should not be forgotten that in addition to excellent promotion, local resources are used to record videos and films, from Croatian production teams to accommodation and business tourism. Thus, the whole story spreads and has additional benefits.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Croatian Roads Continuing with Investments, Toll Payment Modernisation

December the 1st, 2020 - Croatian Roads has continued to function well despite the massive drop in tourist traffic this year, as well as the multitude of economic issues caused by the ongoing pandemic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, it goes without saying that the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus this year has significantly affected most industries across Croatia and throughout all of Europe, especially in the transport segment. However, over the last three years, Hrvatske autoceste/Croatian Roads has been carrying out business and financial restructuring as part of the “Modernisation and Restructuring of the Road Sector (MARS)” project launched by the Croatian Government.

In a three year period, visible results have been achieved that have enabled Croatian Roads to continue to operate stably and continue with key investments that haven't had to be forcibly stopped even during this crisis year, which, after a series of successful years, was marked by a decline in traffic on the country's motorways.

''The season was uncertain due to the pandemic, but our expectations were relatively optimistic, which ultimately proved to be correct, so the drop in traffic on the highways was within our general expectations. Thanks to our modern motorways, Croatia has good transport connections to some key tourist markets. For many tourists who normally travel to more distant Mediterranean destinations by air, quality road connections have proven to be a decisive factor in choosing a destination, which has significantly contributed to the results of the tourist season. In the years ahead, we're going to continue with the projects we've started. The greatest emphasis is still placed on the completion of the Vc corridor in Slavonia, but activities for the construction of the A7 Rupa - Rijeka - Zuta Lokva motorway and the motorway to Dubrovnik remain in total parallel. Projects to increase traffic safety are also continuing, and in the coming period, activities will be launched to introduce a new toll collection system,'' they stated from Croatian Roads.

Following the Government Decision on the merger of the Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway with HAC, which will be implemented as of the 1st of January, 2021, we'll face further business restructuring next year. The merger also creates preconditions for more rational financial management and greater potential for investment in investment maintenance and also in construction. Consolidating the management of state-owned motorways will facilitate the introduction of a new toll collection system and bring savings to public procurement procedures.

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

Croatian Roads Putting More Than 1000 New "Supercameras" into Function

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of October, 2020, Croatian Roads will install 1,088 new digital cameras along its entire motorway network as part of the project for the reconstruction of the video surveillance system and video detection system, the value of which is around 41 million kuna.

Croatian Roads' supercameras, boasting an impressive video detection system, can detect extraordinary situations on the motorway in mere seconds, such as people driving in the opposite direction, a stopped vehicle or a vehicle moving too slowly, writes Vecernji.hr.

Croatian Roads explained that more and more vehicles on the country's motorways are creating a real need to increase overall traffic safety over them. At the same time, most emergency situations on motorways tend to occur in the zones of junctions. In order to prevent the possible consequences of emergencies on motorways, Croatian Roads pointed out, it is necessary to detect them in time and with the help of variable traffic signals to transmit messages to traffic participants and warn all competent intervention services in a timely manner. Therefore, a system of video surveillance and video detection has been introduced on motorways, which performs the constant monitoring and analysis of traffic conditions. The new cameras are being placed in locations where there is the greatest possibility of incidents.

They explained that in their operational centre, in addition to monitoring the traffic situation at all times, the weather conditions on the route are monitored and the necessary measures are taken in case of emergencies or worsening meteorological conditions. Effective emergency management depends entirely on the rapid detection and verification of incidents. With every minute lost, the risk of another, secondary accident caused by the initial incident increases dramatically. Every second employed in resolving the initial incident situation is important, they explained, adding that the effective management of emergency situations can save lives, and the reaction itself is most dependent on the rapid detection and verification of incidents.

Advanced automatic incident detection technologies, according to Croatian Roads, detect all significant incidents within seconds, and the result is mitigation of the consequences of the incident and the avoidance of secondary accidents. Traffic data, compressed images and alarms are sent to the control room. And the system can, as they explain from Croatian Roads, be integrated to serve as a trigger for other systems, such as traffic lights, variable traffic signs or information displays.

''When generating an alarm, the reference operator in the control room receives not only the alarm signal but also the visual information by recording the event itself and thus decides on the necessary actions in the most informed way possible. Real-time analysis of camera images enables more efficient management of traffic on highways,'' the Croatian Roads experts explain.

In case of emergencies, they added, their timely detection enables the quick intervention of the competent services, and other traffic participants can be notified in a timely manner in order to avoid secondary accidents. In the existing video surveillance and video detection system on HAC motorways, there are problems with camera optics, output signals, low resolution, and the cameras don't have the appropriate zoom or detail review.

Digital instead of analog

Therefore, in accordance with modern technological standards from the security and traffic information aspect, Croatian Roads started the process of the reconstruction of the existing video surveillance and video detection systems. Last year, they prepared the implementation and project documentation which envisaged the replacement of these older analog cameras with modern digital IP cameras and the installation of additional digital cameras in locations where it is currently not possible to meet the requirements of automatic incident detection.

Croatian Roads stated that IP cameras or Internet Protocol cameras are digital video cameras that transmit videos over a computer network. They have better image quality, advanced recording technology and the ability to connect a large number of cameras to a surveillance system. In addition, HAC explained, digital cameras have advanced features such as analysis, advanced motion detection technology and remote focusing. Videos are stored digitally, using network video recorders.

''Through various projects, Croatian Motorways is continuously carrying out activities to increase safety levels on motorways. Although we recently received a high rating for safety on motorways, our investments in safety continue, as shown by this project of the modernisation of the video surveillance system,'' said the President of the Management Board of Croatian Roads, Boris Huzjan.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Croatian Road Authority Seals HRK 15.9m Deal with Spegra and Strabag

ZAGREB, September 1, 2020 - The Hrvatske Ceste (HC) road authority has signed a HRK 15.9 million /€2.12m) contract with the Spegra and Strabag construction companies for extraordinary road maintenance which includes four viaducts and a tunnel, and the works are expected to be completed in four months,HC said on Tuesday.

The works cover four viaducts and a tunnel on the Solin-Klis road in Split-Dalmatia County.

Traffic will be redirected for the duration of the works.

During the night between Wednesday, September 2 and Thursday, September 3 this road will be completely closed between 9.30 p.m. and 5.30 a.m, HC said.

 

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