One of the most urgent projects for the Roads Directorate is a Belgrade bypass, says director Branko Jocic. Corridor 10 traffic passes through the city centre using a 1980s expressway: 'some 140,000 vehicles go through daily', he says.
Plans for a ring road on the southern side of the city have been developing for two decades, and with a $134M European Investment Bank loan at the beginning of the 1990s it seemed set to go. But work on the new link, connecting the northern Novi Sad road to the south did not go far and only $8.5M was spent mainly on the first 15km length before sanctions bit.
A new bridge over the River Sava at Ostruzunica was eventually completed but then destroyed by bombing in 1999. Reconstruction by Mostogradjna has just finished.
A strategic study of the route has been under way for the EU since 2003 by UK consultant Scott Wilson. 'We are looking at three sections, ' says team leader Michael Thomas, 'a 10km link from the northern E75, corridor 10, to the main highway to Croatia; the main 37km ring road from there across the Sava river and to the south-east; and a possible continuation extending 20km across the Danube on the east sides.' The latter would give a much needed additional link to the industrial area of Pancevo east of the capital. Traffic, which includes many hazardous chemical loads, currently crosses a single Danube bridge just downstream of Belgrade and then passes through the city.
'It would mean building quite a large bridge, however, ' says Thomas. It would need a total length of perhaps 1,190m to achieve the necessary shipping clearance, with a 190m steel box main span or a 250m cable stay.
Choices will depend on newly determined traffic volumes and - equally important - the funding options, which are all included in the study now being examined by the government.