Bechtel Enka will build 110 km of roads in North Macedonia
The government of North Macedonia and the consortium “Bechtel Enka” signed in Skopje the agreement for the construction of parts of the highway corridor 8 and 10-d in a length of about 110 kilometers. The project will cost 1.3 billion euros. Authorities call it a major project that will facilitate traffic and connectivity with neighboring countries. However, the Macedonian opposition casts doubt on government corruption in this matter.
North Macedonia is starting an important phase of highway construction; something that has been lacking in the western part of the country in particular. On Wednesday, the government in Skopje signed an agreement with the well-known consortium “Bechtel Enka” for the construction of the highway in the section of corridor 8 and 10-d.
The project within “Corridor 8” will connect Tetova, Gostivar, Kirčova, Struga to Qafë Thane on the border with Albania in a length of 68 kilometers, as well as Prilep with Manastir, on the other side, in a length of about 40 kilometers. as part of Corridor 10-d. The highways will have six lanes each and the works must be completed within a period of five years.
The value of this project is 1.3 billion Euros.
The government authorities see this as a historic investment that will have positive effects on the economy and the lives of the citizens of this country.
Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski said that the construction of highways has a special importance for raising the quality of road infrastructure; that this makes the country a key point and gateway to Europe through the connection of the Black Sea with the Adriatic. “In this way, the European future of North Macedonia and its neighbors is built,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Artan Grubi, in the capacity of the head of the Commission for negotiations with the “Bechtel Enka” consortium, especially thanked the American Embassy in Skopje for helping with advice throughout the process.
Bechtel Company CEO Mark Allison said the company responsibly applies the highest standards in construction like this:
“This will improve connectivity throughout the region and in North Macedonia itself,” said Mr. Allison.
On the other hand, critics express doubts about this project, the talks for which have lasted two years. The Macedonian opposition and a part of the local media suspect corruption affairs of the government while remarking on the issue of the commitment of the company IRD-Ingeneering to supervise the construction of the highway, which according to VMRO-DPMNE is connected to the “Bechtel Enka” consortium.
Meanwhile, the works on the Kîçovo – Ohrid highway that started eight years ago and have not been completed.
Corruption is a problem that has caused the decline of citizens’ trust in institutions and in particular in the judiciary.
American Ambassador Angela Aggeler told reporters that corruption is not easy to eradicate within a short period of time, but that the US is helping North Macedonia in this effort.
“We want to be a partner with this state, in such a way that it becomes clear to the citizens here that this system is for them; but this will take time. However, it is a matter of priority”, said the ambassador.