Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, inaugurated the 1.8-km Beskyd railway tunnel, which crosses the mountains between the towns of Beskid and Skotarske and connects the Ukrainian rail network through a double-track link with the pan-European transport network Corridor V.
“The Beskyd tunnel is the largest infrastructure project implemented in Ukraine over the past decades. This tunnel is a symbol of cooperation between Ukrzaliznytsya, Ukrainian authorities, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank,” President Poroshenko said during the official opening ceremony of the new Beskyd railway tunnel.
The plans for the construction of the tunnel had been initiated twenty years ago, but the first explosions creating the tunnel had taken place in 2014. It took four years to complete the tunnel which links Ukraine to Europe.
The total cost of the project amounted to USD 2.2 billion. EBRD granted a USD 40 million loan, EIB granted a EUR 55 million loan, while Ukrzaliznytsia invested EUR 163 million. The project was also supported by a grant provided by the European Union and technical assistance provided by the EU and Austria. In 2011, the consortium including Ukrainian company Interbudmontazh and Porr signed the contract for the construction of the tunnel and works were launched in 2013.
The new double-track tunnel will increase transport volume between Ukraine and European Union and “it is very important that Ukraine is a reliable country transiting not only gas and energy materials, but also commodities,” the President emphasized.
According to the President, Ukrainian railways increased cargo transport to the EU by 20% each year and the European Union exceeds 40% of our trade turnover. 46 trains per day will use the tunnel, an increase from 12 trains. The new tunnel is 1.765-m long (or 1.822 m including the portals) and will significantly reduce the travel time on the route between Lvov, in the west of the country, and Chop city, at the frontier between Hungary and Slovakia, as trains will no longer have to wait to pass through the tunnel (such as in the case of the old tunnel).