A kick off meeting, held on 22 December, marked the start of CONNECTA’s sub-project ‘Technical assistance for preparation of environmental and social gap analysis, review of the existing technical project documentation and preparation of supplementary documentation for construction of rail section Kriva Palanka – border with Bulgaria’.
The rail route of Corridor VIII runs through Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria, from the port of Durres (Adriatic Sea) to the port of Varna (Black Sea). In North Macedonia, the Rail Corridor VIII includes a 89 km long section between Kumanovo and the border with Bulgaria as well as another 103 km long section between Kičevo and Skopje.
CONNECTA’s assignment concerns 23.4 km of new single-track electrified rail line with a large number of structures, from Kriva Palanka to the border with the Republic of Bulgaria (the Project). The objectives of the assignment are: 1) to review the existing Environmental and Social (E&S) studies related to the Project and to prepare the additional E&S documentation to fulfill the requirements of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the national legislation and 2) review the existing tender documents including the design for the Project.
The assignment will help secure the financing for the works for this section Kriva Palanka to the border with Bulgaria. The planned construction complements the ongoing investments for construction and rehabilitation of two other sections of the 89 km-long Eastern part of Corridor VIII in North Macedonia: Kumanovo-Beljakovce and Beljakovce-Kriva Palanka. The new railway interconnection is expected to increase the international trade and transport in the region, influence the economic growth in the north-east area of the country, encourage the traffic shift from road to rail transport and reduce emissions. Once the route is complete, the railway link between North Macedonia and the Black Sea will be shortened by approximately 200 km.
The EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkan prioritises projects on the indicative extension of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) core network which are of strategic interest to the region and to the EU. The Plan identifies the Rail Corridor VIII between Skopje and the Bulgarian border as a Flagship project.
The kick off meeting was attended by the representatives of the Public Enterprise for Railway Infrastructure Railways and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of North Macedonia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Delegation of the European Union, the Central Financing and Contracting Department and the National IPA Coordinator of North Macedonia. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the meeting was held virtually.
Additional information on the assignment can be obtained by contacting Chris Germanacos, CONNECTA Team Leader, at email@example.com.