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Kosovo: works have begun for Lot 2

Kosovo celebrates the start of the works on the Rail Route

formal ceremony for the opening of GCF’s work site

Work sites also opened in Kosovo for Lot 2 of Rail Route 10, the central rail artery connecting the country with Serbia to the north and with Macedonia to the South.

The start of the works on the full rail renewal of the Fushë Kosovë - Mitrovice section, entrusted - like Lot 1 - to GCF, was celebrated on Monday, December 19th, with an official ceremony attended by Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

The railway infrastructure modernization project, as the premier was keen to point out - is universally considered a "prerequisite for the development of the economies of the region," a fundamental and strategic piece not only for Kosovo but "for the very connection of the Western Balkans with the countries of the European Union". Not surprisingly, enthusiastically greeting the start of the second construction site-symbolically represented by GCF's construction train departing to the work site-were Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure Liburn Aliu, Deputy Minister of 'Environment Hysen Durmishi, Minister of Economic Development Artane Rizvanolli, Acting Head of Kosovo Railway Infrastructure (Infrakos) Uran Mulaj, Head of the EU Office in Kosovo Tomas Szunyog, numerous European political authorities, representatives of the EIB and Bers, Italian Deputy Ambassador to Kosovo Ugo Ferrero, and Head of Department Dr. Daniela De Giorgi.

There was unanimous enthusiasm and very high expectations for the project that in a few years will deliver to Kosovo a truly modern railway infrastructure, able to meet all the efficiency and interoperability requirements defined by the European Directives and perfectly integrated into the international network: in short, as emphasized by many of the speakers, one of the "most powerful economic pillars" of the country.

Rail Route 10, the project for Kosovo's future

Rail Route 10 is a project financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and by the European Commission through the WBIF (The Western Balkans Investment Framework).
It foresees the substantial reconstruction of 148 km of railway that cross the entire country of Kosovo from North to South, respecting the requirements of the technical rules of inter-operability and European standards to improve the safety of railway traffic, with the aim to improve passengers’ conditions, increase the trains’ travelling speed and number of trains per day, and, lastly, to support the development of the economy of the Country and the entire Balkan area.

Since February 2019, GCF has been executing the first lot of works – completed by over 60% at the moment – that, for an amount of 78 million Euros, foresees the re-building of the 67 km section between Fushë Kosovë and Hani i Elezit, towards the Macedonian border.

Lot 2, financed with 48 million Euros, foresees the total remaking, in 15 months, of the section between Fushë Kosovë and Mitrovicë: 34.4 km of main railway line and 9.1 km of track and junctions in stations, in addition to 18 km of road network parallel and transversal to the line (service roads or roads crossed by 32 level crossings).

The third lot will complete the project with 46 km between Mitrovicë and Lesak to the North, on the border with Serbia.

Indeed, the section that involves lot 1 and 2, that from Hani I Elezit reaches Fushë Kosovë to continue North towards Mitrovicë, constitutes the first railway line of Kosovo built 147 years ago, in 1874. It still carries the extensive, visible damages suffered during 1990-1999. Damages that were only partially repaired and, consequently, led to strong limitations to the trains’ circulation, including the reduction of potential loads and maximum speed allowed: 60 km/h in average that is reduced up to 20 km/h along the many bridges and tunnels, for safety reasons.
"These are particularly complex worksites", explains Roberto Accinelli, GCF's Project Manager, "which, for both lots, include both typical rail renewal works, such as the replacement of rails, sleepers and ballast, and interventions and civil works that, along the entire route, involve underpasses, tunnels, bridges and stations".

The works foreseen for Lot 2

Regarding Lot 2, in particular, the works on the Fushë Kosovë - Mitrovice section, as envisaged in the project approved by Infrakos, in 15 months will not only have to deliver, completely reconstructed, 34.4 km of main railway line and 9.1 km of track and switches in the stations, but also provide for the rehabilitation of about 18 km of road network parallel and transversal to the line (service roads or affected by the 32 current level crossings).
“An important project - underscores Engineer Blardiconcerns the 16 existing bridges - many in steel, some in masonry - which must comply with inter-operability standards and Eurocodici and STI requirements: some, through suitable reinforcing measures and most, through demolition and re-construction . Similarly, numerous hydraulic works will be executed along the track, in addition to 52 underground channels”.

A specific “restoration” project will concern 5 stations (Mitrovice, Vushtri, Druar, Prelluzhe, Obiliq-Kastriota) and 5 stops (Frasher, Pantine, Vernice, Mihaliq, Plemetin) present along the railway segment where, in addition to the restructuring works to the buildings, 16 passengers’ docks must be re-built or constructed from scratch, of length ranging from 150 to 200 metres, featuring roof and benches, ramps, stairs and access underpasses, railway crossings, loading platforms, underpasses, passengers’ areas (ticket offices, washrooms, waiting areas) and accommodation areas for the staff. Special attention will be paid to the main station of Fushe Kosove, where the restructuring works – internal and external – will concern the station’s building (with conference room and auditorium) and also the adjacent technical and administrative offices, where different types of interventions will be carried out.

"The complex work site," specifies Raffaele Forcella, Project Manager, "has been meticulously fine-tuned in recent months, drawing up timely operational plans that will allow us to maximize and optimize the exchange and deployment of personnel, machinery, and workers on the two lots. At our base of operations in Miradi, a fleet of high-efficiency machinery has been convoyed from Rome in recent months: a construction train, several tamping machines, profiling machines, locomotives, road-rail vehicles, excavators. As of today we are working at full capacity."

Rail Route 10

Corridor X is 252 km long, 148 km cross Kosovo along the North-South Leshak – Hani i Elezit axis. From Kraljevo (in Serbia), through Lapovo, it reaches Belgrade; to the South, in Macedonia, from Gjiorche Petrov, it reaches Skopje. Its integration in the eastern European/ East Mediterranean corridor (Rete Ten-T, asse 4) will allow to connect the Balkans with Austria, Greece, and Bulgaria

Additional information:

Kosovo: GCF awarded also the second lot of Rail Route 10

The restoring of railway Rail Route 10 has started in Kosovo

Kosovo sets out to modernize its railway network with GCF

20221219 GCF Kosovo Lotto2 1