Thursday, July 07, 2016

Croatia’s Peljesac Bridge Saga

Croatia Online Dubrovnik Bridge
No this isn’t it – this is the bridge over Dubrovnik’s river, Rijeka Dubrovačka, as you head south west to Gruž port and Dubrovnik city centre. We could have used the foundations of the new bridge, from the mainland near Split to Čiovo island, as an illustration  instead but it’s not quite so pretty!
Like the Čiovo bridge, the proposed Pelješac bridge is likely to be funded with EU money, and both sets of developers have been told to hurry up if they want to get all of it. Both projects also share a long history of being “on” and “off”. However the Čiovo bridge is well on the way as three shifts work day and night to get it finished. Not only will it considerably shorten the journey from, for example,  Slatine, at the east end of  Čiovo island, to Split (they are almost opposite each other as the crow flies but, at the moment you have to drive west to the other end of the island, then over the bridge to Trogir old town, over another bridge to the mainland and then back east to Split) but it will also take the enormous pressure of the narrow bridges, connecting  Čiovo to Trogir and the mainland, as holiday makers go to and from the beaches in day time and for some night life in Trogir in the evening.

The purpose of the Pelješac bridge is somewhat different. When the territory was split up after the various disputes and the collapse of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina got just a tiny bit of coastline around Neum, just before the Pelješac Peninsula joins up with the mainland. So Croatians travelling from, say, Split to Dubrovnik have to “go out” of Croatia and come back into it a few miles further along the coast. Understandably that wrankles, especially from a nation that treasures its relatively recent independence, so the bridge would allow Croatians to cross over to the Pelješac Peninsula and stay on their own territory wherever they wanted to go in their own country. Hopefully it’s all systems go now but it’s fascinating to read the history of this project and we found an interesting website that details the early stages (from 2005) and some of the early facts: Korčula Info - Pelješac Bridge

The French company, Bouygues, is apparently interested in tendering - SEE News - Bouygues Eyes Croatian Pelješac Bridge Project -  and that will add to a number of large infrastructure projects it is already carrying out in Croatia. And I suppose that as we Brits mull over and discover all the implications of Brexit, we also have to accept that another consequence is our engineering and construction companies missing out on big projects like this.

On a more upbeat note, whilst trying hard not to be distracted by the temptation to refer to Croatia’s political crisis and the “unifying” minority party “Most” (Croatian for bridge),  it looks like there’s yet another bridge in the pipeline for Croatia – big business I suppose for a country with so many inhabited islands and several inland waterways. Rather ironically, according to Total Croatia News, there’s a new bridge planned as part of a new highway connecting Eastern Slavonia more directly with the Croatian south, through Bosnia & Herzegovina. Read more on the following link New Bridge Across Sava River Planned Soon

And for those interested in more information on the strikingly photogenic bridge near Dubrovnik in today’s picture, it’s called the Dr Franjo Tuđman Bridge, it’s 518 metres long and an undergraduate student in Bath has carried out a detailed critical analysis of it which any bridge nerds amongst you (and even laymen like me!) might find very interesting - Student Critical Analysis of Dubrovnik Bridge


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