EBRD funds strategic motorway in Serbia

By Ina Coretchi

The EBRD is supporting the modernisation of transport infrastructure in Serbia with a €150 million sovereign loan to finalise the construction of a new motorway section along the strategic Corridor X.

Corridor X is one of the ten pan-European corridors and Serbia’s main transport route. It provides vital links to FYR Macedonia and Greece in the south and to Croatia, Hungary and Western Europe in the north.

The construction of the 90 km long E-80 motorway, running from Nis to the Bulgarian border, will allow Serbia to capitalise further on its location as a transit country for international transport.

The first section of the E-80 motorway, 18 km from Nis to Prosek, has already been built. The EBRD funds together with loans from the World Bank and the European Investment Bank will be used to finance the construction of the remaining sections of the new four lane motorway. The motorway will be built on a new route, which includes interchanges with the existing road network.

As part of the project, electronic tolling will be introduced for the first time on this route. The fee payable on E-80 will not exceed the manual toll charge.

With a total cost of approximately €795 million, the project is co-financed by the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Republic of Serbia.

The project is supported by grant funds from the EBRD Western Balkans Fund, which will be used to develop a plan for introducing the private sector into road toll collection and to support the implementation of the Roads Law in Serbia.

“The EBRD is pleased to support this project, which is another step forward for the development of the road network in Serbia. The construction of this strategic motorway will facilitate Serbia’s trade and integration within the Balkans, while improving European transport network overall,” said Thomas Maier, EBRD Business Group Director for Infrastructure.

“The government of Serbia is pleased that a major investment programme in support of Corridor X is being financed by the International Financial Institutions, since capital infrastructure projects remain one of the strategic commitments of the Serbian government for the coming period. This project will not only provide a key transit link, but also promote road safety initiatives and the expansion of electronic tolling across the motorway network”, said Diana Dragutinovic, Serbian Minister of Finance.

Since the beginning of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has committed over €1.6 billion to the Serbian economy, of which more than €610 million in the infrastructure sector.

Overall the Bank has invested to date over €9.6 billion in the infrastructure sector in countries of its operation. The most recent project represented a €200 million loan to finance the first road concession in the Slovak Republic.