The Minister of Transport and Communications Goran Sugareski and the Director of the Public Entreprise (PE) for State Roads Zoran Kitanov last week announced that this year the state will start with the project of the future motorway Prilep-Bitola. In the annual program of PE State roads for 2019 there is an entry for completing the project documentation for the motorway Prilep-Bitola, but the call for construction bureau thath will prepare it has not been published yet.

After such announcements coming from the state leadership, the question is why there should be a motorway and not an expressway between Prilep and Bitola, as the authorities had announced previously.  According to the data from the Public Entreprise “Makedonija pat”, the average annual daily traffic of the current road Prilep -Bitola in 2017 equalled 4.884 vehicles. As a comparison, the frequency of cars on the road Rosoman – Drenovo- Prilep equals 4.677 vehicles daily, and there is a new project on this exact route, but what is being built is an expressway, not motorway.

The cost of construction of one kilometre of motorway is much higher than that of a kilometre of expressway, and so there must be some explanation for the increase in the financial plan for the project.

Professor Verica Danchevska from the Technical Faculty Bitola emphasises that the Ministry of Transport and Communications does not have strategic documents based on the principles and goals of the transport policy.

“Annual average daily traffic is one important indicator that should be taken into consideration when making the decision where to invest in the state network, although I have to add that most often, the decisions are political and in accordance to the politics of “power” and not according to principles and goals of the transport policy,” Danchevska argues.

The Prilep-Bitola road is located at the arm D of the Pan-European Corridor 10, which ends at the Greek port of Igoumenitsa.  The construction of the road infrastructure of this section started with the construction of the expressway Gradsko – Prilep, whose two of the three planned stages are already in construction. The current government started the project on the expressway from Bitola to the Macedonian-Greek border in Medzitlija. The last section, for which no construction project has been prepared, is the part between Prilep and Bitola.