The workgroup for acting upon UNESCO’s objections at the moment is working upon draft solutions or the railway connection between Macedonia and Albania. The government informed Meta.mk that the final solution for the way of the railway line from Kichevo – Lin will be in accordance with UNESCO’s recommendations.

-The draft-solutions contain ecological measures including international environmental standards that should be met in order to provide protection for Ohrid Lake as a world natural and cultural heritage. because of these reasons, the process of analysis of potential solutions is detailed and it encompasses more options where along with UNESCO an option will be chosen that will be most favorable from ecological, financial and economic aspects – state from the government.

Several companies and institutions work upon the draft solutions for the railway to Albania such as the Public Enterprise for Railway Infrastructure, Zeleznici, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Environment and Planning including other institutions.

Even though the direct proposal by UNESCO for the building of an alternative tunnel from Struga to the Albanian city of Prenjas under the mountain of Jablanica would mean changing of the current roadbed the government stresses that the additional changes to the project will increase the costs of the building of the rail line, but it will also mean additional international agreements in order to determine the future roadbed.

-The first projections are that the additional changes of the roadbed, the costs of the building would increase by 20% from the current costs i.e. an additional 100 million euros. Additionally, the process of building itself would be delayed for a significant time period which would result in additional costs and non-functional railway corridor 8 – said the government.

The current projected value of the railway line from Kichevo to Lin is 500 million euros. The roadbed is of the length of 63 km is problematic for UNESCO in the area between Struga and the Macedonia-Albanian border as it passes near the coastline of the Ohrid Lake. According to item 7 of the final decision by UNESCO’s committee, the railway line that would pass along the coastline will influence the universal value of the lake.

The draft solutions for the future roadbed of the railway link with Albania should be submitted at the government by the 15th of January 2020.