The new summer season is about to start but the first several kilometers of the Kichevo – Ohrid motorway still aren’t in regular use. The promises of the authorities were that this year the first, more or less, 10 km of this motorway will be put into use in the area between Vrbjani and Ohrid, which is the part with the highest frequency of vehicles and highest number of accidents. The construction companies are working in the field, albeit with a slower tempo due to the coronavirus pandemic and its negative consequences.

At the end of May, queried the Public Enterprise for State Roads (PESR) about the construction of the Kichevo – Ohrid motorway, but we still haven’t received any answers to our questions. Its director, Zoran Kitanov gave a statement for Deutsche Welle explaining that the Albanian company Victoria had problems with its workers from Albania who couldn’t work in the past period. This is the subcontractor who worked in the past few years on the construction of the last kilometers of the motorway close to Ohrid.

In an interview for Slobodna TV, Kitanov stressed that the land’s expropriation has been completed, while 74 redesigns stipulated by the contract for necessary redesign and additional design of the detected flaws and oversights in project’s documentation. Around 80% of the redesigns were completed, said Director Kitanov.

He stressed that 685 workers and 228 machines are out in the field working on the roadbed in the length of 57 km, and he said these numbers will double in the next two months. The director also stressed that during this year a part of the road, between 5 and 15 km, will be put into use, but didn’t say when that will happen.

From that which can be seen in the field, the section that is the first to be opened for traffic –  Ohrid-Vrbjani – the construction works are going on slowly. Two gas stations are still working and several houses are still not torn down. In the section between Podmolje and Ohrid, people drive across the newly built road, but the part of the road for vehicles arriving from the other direction is yet to be reconstructed.

The Kichevo-Ohrid motorway construction works began in February 2014 with a deadline until the 20th of June 2021. The cost of constructing the highway is 598 million EUR and the money was were secured through the Exim Bank of China. The main contractor is the Chinese company “Sinohidro”.