Slovenian government can move ahead with Divača–Koper railway, as, under the referendum, 53.5 percent voted in favor of the project. 46.5 percent of the voters were against the implementation of the project.
“Citizens want progress, economic development, new jobs and safer motorways. After two decades of effort by all previous governments, construction of the second track has now been finally and definitively pulled from the dead end into which it had been shunted,” the Prime Minister, Miro Cerar, said.
For the purpose of transparency, the government has compiled a special act containing a full set of control mechanisms; it will also introduce the exercise of financial and project oversight by civil society. The project will also be overseen by European institutions and the partner states involved in it.
“A second track of the Divača–Koper railway line is urgently required for the development of the Port of Koper, Slovenian railways, the entire logistics sector and the economy that relies on it. A second track opens up the possibility of new jobs and gives us the opportunity to avoid being sidelined – indeed, we now have the chance to become a logistics platform for the rest of Europe,” the government said.
A further important factor is that the investment in a second track will shift freight transport from road to rail, therefore relieving the burden on the Slovenian motorway network. Moreover, as rail is unarguably a cleaner mode of transport than road haulage, the project will also have a positive impact on the environment.
The Divača – Koper project involves the construction of the double-track on a 27-km section. Because of the difficult terrain and environmental constraints, 75% of its length will be built through 8 tunnels. The project also includes the construction of two viaducts and two bridges. Costs are estimated at around EUR 1 billion and works could be completed in 6 years.
When the line duplication project will be completed and commissioned, the distance between Divača and Koper will be reduced from 44 km to 27 km, while the travel time will be reduced from 48 minutes to 15-20 minutes.
The line is part of Baltic-Adriatic and Mediterranean TEN-T Corridors and the importance of this railway is emphasised in the international rail freight traffic due to its access role to the Port of Koper and hinterland and to European countries.