Roads and bridges cement Serbia-China friendship: Serbian deputy PM

Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic speaks during a press conference at the construction site of a bridge across the Sava and Kolubara rivers in Obrenovac, Serbia, June 27, 2019. (Xinhua/Nemanja Cabric)

The construction of a bridge across the Sava and Kolubara rivers is an exemplary project, which also symbolizes the good relations between the peoples and presidents of Serbia and China, said Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic here on Thursday.

She made the remarks when visiting the bridge site in the Obrenovac municipality of the capital city. The main contractor is the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

Mihajlovic, who is also the minister of construction, transport and infrastructure, was accompanied by Chinese Ambassador Chen Bo, the Presidents of the municipalities of Obrenovac and Surcin, Miroslav Cuckovic and Stevan Susa, as well as representatives of Serbian and Chinese companies.

At a press conference, she recalled that China and Serbia have been working together on many important projects, such as the highway known as Corridor 11 or the modernization of the Belgrade-Budapest rail link, and have also been negotiating new ones, such as the modernization of the rail line between Belgrade and the Montenegrin port city of Bar or of the rail link between Belgrade and the southern cities of Nis and Presevo.

"We are doing all this together through good and friendly bilateral economic relations, and most importantly good and friendly relations between the two presidents, because this provides the foundation for our talks on all great and major Chinese investments in Serbia that amount to billions of euros," explained Mihajlovic.

She said that the bridge across the Sava and Kolubara rivers is exemplary when it comes to project administration and management, and also when it comes to cooperation between China and Serbia.

She thanked the CCCC for their professional approach to the ongoing projects and for their readiness to engage in new ones in the near future.

Construction on the 17.6-kilometer Obrenovac-Surcin section of the A2 motorway started in the spring of 2017. The project is worth 208 million euros (236.5 million U.S. dollars).

Its aim is to connect Serbia's two highways -- Corridor 10 and Corridor 11 -- by a 29-meter wide six-lane highway section, which also includes a 1.58-kilometer bridge over the confluence of the rivers Sava and Kolubara.

The ministry in charge said in a press release that 75 percent of the project has already been completed. A total of 648 employees work at the construction site (490 on Sundays), as well as 300 machines.

Participants in Thursday's tour were told that the bridge is 94.19 percent completed, the ministry's press release said.

Cuckovic and Susa agreed that the project is important for people in their respective communities and that once it is completed, the suburban municipalities of Obrenovac and Surcin will become the capital city's vital link to the E763 highway, currently being built by Chinese companies.

The link will make communication easier and faster, also because freight transport towards the south Adriatic would no longer use municipal roads,said Susa.

Chen highlighted that the last segment of the bridge has been put in place, and thanked the Chinese workers for their contribution to making one Serbian dream come true.

The ambassador recalled that CCCC had agreed to finish construction by mid-December 2019, much before the project deadline.