SARAJEVO Dec 21 Bosnia's Bosniak-Croat
Federation has signed a 350 million Bosnian marka ($237 million)
deal with Turkish construction company Cengiz Insaat to build
the remaining 10 kilometres of a 20 km section of a future
Mountainous Bosnia has only around 40 km of highways. It
plans to build another 40 km in the next two years as part of
the pan-European VC corridor linking Budapest, Hungary, in the
north with the Croatian port of Ploce in the south.
"This contract has been the most valuable single contract
signed so far for the construction of the VC corridor," Ensad
Karic, the director of the Bosniak-Croat autonomous region's
roads and highways authority Autoceste, said on Friday.
The funding for the construction of the Vlakovo-Lepenica
section has been secured through a loan from the European
Investment Bank, which is along with the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development the key creditor of
infrastructure projects in the Balkan country.
Earlier this year, Cengiz Insaat won two other deals to
build 10 km of the 20 km-long Vlakovo-Tarcin section, south of
Sarajevo, estimated to cost a total of around 700 million marka.
It consists of 3.5 km of tunnels and an interchange.
"The Vlakovo-Tarcin section is the most important part of
the VC corridor," said Cengiz Insaat General Manager Kemal
Unluer, adding the length of tunnels due to be built is half of
the total length of all tunnels at the corridor.
Unluer signed an agreement with seven local companies that
will assist with construction works worth 200 million marka. The
works should be completed in 20 months.
"Around 3,000 workers will be engaged on this section
alone," said Federation Prime Minister Nermin Niksic. "We think
that this will be an engine of growth in the Federation and in
Bosnia has an unemployment rate of 28 percent and its
economy has been stagnating in recent years because of the
crisis in Europe and lack of reforms.
Officials see infrastructure and energy projects planned in
the next year as a chance for economic growth.
On Friday, Autoceste called for bids in an international
tender for the works on the 3-km-long Vijenac tunnel on the
highway section Drivusa-Kakanj in central Bosnia.
($1=1.476 Bosnian marka)
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Mark Potter)