Croatia develops its Mediterranean Corridor

Since 2013, Croatia has become member of the European Union which triggered new challenges and opportunities in the railway sector. As a EU member state, by 2020, Croatia will benefit from EUR 10.7 billion as financing from the European Structural and Investment Funds and the development of the transport infrastructure has become a vital element for its integration in the European area, the modernisation of the railway system being the authorities’ main concern.

In the financial period 2014-2020, the available funds for the country’s transport sector are worth EUR 1.3 billion of which EUR 400 million are coming from the European Regional Development Fund and over EUR 900 million from the Cohesion Fund. Moreover, Croatia can also access the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) making available over EUR 456 million.
The integration of railway infrastructure within the European network will enable economic development, the improvement of regional connections, the optimisation and increase of freight and passenger traffic flows and will create investment conditions to increase capacity and reduce the environmental impact. Croatia has a railway network of 2,604 km of which 37% are electrified railways and only 10% are double railways. The 554 stations, 547 bridges and 109 tunnels complete the infrastructure.
Within the Partnership Agreement, Croatia also has to upgrade its railway infrastructure for which it needs HRK 4 billion (EUR 536 million). Apart from other projects, the PA includes the modernisation of Dugo Selo – Križevci lines with investments amounting to EUR 203.6 million, Okučani-Novska (EUR 37 million) and the modernisation of Zagreb Station (EUR 11.7 million).
The Department for European Funds includes 11 important railway projects for integration in the European railway area.

Tenders to be launched

The Mediterranean Corridor, stretching on 328.5 km on the territory of Croatia, includes a series of projects in the implementation or design phase.
The modernisation and construction of the second railway on Križevci–Koprivnica–State Border section (42.6 km) requires investments of over EUR 297 million. The project received CEF co-financing worth EUR 241.3 million and tenders are expected to be launched soon so that works could be initiated in the third quarter of the year.
The reconstruction and construction of Dugo Selo-Križevci double line is one of Croatia’s important railway projects. The EUR 166.4 million contract was signed last year with Dalekovod, DIV and Zagreb-Montaza consortium. For Krizevci – Hungarian border section, HŽ Infrastruktura and CE signed the financing contract in October 2016. Total costs amount to EUR 300 million of which EUR 241 million (85%) come from European funds.
The design phase also includes the modernisation and construction of the double railway on Hrvatski Leskovac–Karlovac section (44.25 km) – project estimated at EUR 351 million for which the tender will be announced in 2018. Construction works will be initiated in 2019; the construction of the double railway on the 84-km Goljak-Skradnik section requires an investment of EUR 650 million. In order to elaborate the preparation works for the construction of the second railway and the modernisation of the existing railway on Škrljevo-Rijeka-Jurdani route, the CEF co-financing granted was of EUR 8.5 million, of EUR 10 million necessary. The project is estimated at EUR 300 million and includes works on 27.5 km planned for 2020. >
> The multimodal transport segment includes two new projects financed through CEF and through the partnership between HZ Infrastruktura and Port of Rijeka Authority. One project includes the infrastructure modernisation and development, the construction of multimodal platforms and interconnections within Rijeka Port. The total cost of the project is EUR 35.5 million, of which the EU contribution amounts to EUR 30.2 million. HZ Infrastruktura is responsible for the construction of the station on Rijeka-Brajdica section and on the Adriatic Gate Container Terminal Intermodal Yard–Brajdica. Tenders should be announced in the first quarter of the year and the initiation of works is expected in the third quarter of 2017. The infrastructure manager could invest EUR 26 million of which a CEF con-financing of EUR 22.1 million.
The second multimodal project consists of the modernisation of Zagreb-Pier container terminal, for which HZ Infrastruktura is responsible with the reconstruction of the freight section pertaining to Rijeka. The total cost of the project is EUR 31.6 million of which EUR 26.8 million is the CEF co-financing. The tender for the procurement of project management and execution of works will be announced in the first part of the year. Works are expected to be initiated in the third quarter of 2017.
Regarding the new construction works, HZ Infrastruktura mentions two projects. One concerns the modernisation and electrification of Vinkovci-Vukovar section (18.7 km). The project is estimated at EUR 70.4 million and public procurement should be launched soon. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.
The project on the modernisation and electrification of Zaprešić–Zabok (23,9 km) is in the phase of procurement and attraction of EU funds. For this project, JASPERS, the EU partnership for technical assistance for large infrastructure project, announced the Ministry of Transport in February 2017 that the project is eligible for financing, with acceptable costs of EU co-financing set at EUR 80.8 million. “The confirmation of the readiness of the project is an important step in the approval procedure for, alongside the Peljesac bridge project, another strategic Croatian project, and the ministry and HZ Infrastructure, as the beneficiaries of the project, will continue with further activities to prepare the project and submit it to the European Commission,” the ministry said. The project documentation will be sent to the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds which will submit it for an Independent Quality Review (IQR).

by Pamela Luica

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