Source: eKapija | Monday, 24.01.2022.| 13:27
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Waiting for Subway, Faster Railway and Road Around Cacak – 2021 Retrospective, Investments in Transportation

Future Belgrade underground
Future Belgrade underground (Photo: Autorski tim: Sara Miladinović, Dušan Munćan, Anđela Radovanović, Ilija Demenesku i Lidija Grozdanić)
The year 2021, in terms of transport, was comparable to the bypass route around Belgrade. It was a bypass route that we were waiting for, but the one around Cacak (Preljina-Pakovrace). The first, optimistic, expectations were that it was going to be completed by the second half of December, but it was then postponed for 2022, just like the Belgrade-Novi Sad fast railway. Realistically, it’s no problem for something to be a little late if it is done right – a recently deceased local politician gained infamy by always claiming his projects were finished before the deadline.

People seem to know that these announcements have more to do with the upcoming election and consequently didn’t pay much attention to the new railway and trains. It’s no wonder, as travel by train seems to have become a thing of a distant past in Serbia, and most younger people have no way of knowing why Lapovo and Stalac were important places. Most residents of Belgrade would have trouble finding the black hole that is the current so-called “Belgrade Center” Railway Station on the map.

Let’s look at the list:

1. Belgrade Subway and Suburban Railway

The construction of the subway system, financially by far the most valuable individual investment so far, has been approached by eKapija as a topic of utmost importance, as is proper, whereas the public is mostly divided between the “it’s not happening” crowd and those who parrot the propaganda. Our approach is to cast light on the controversial points and uncertainties in the plans, which has made eKapija the leading source of news about the truly controversial Belgrade Subway problem.

So: why does the first subway line pass so close to Prokop, yet so far away from it and why do the lines cross beneath the removed railway station; what’s more important, the Clinical Center of Serbia or the Sava Square; what about the existing large settlements if we direct the routes too much toward free building land; what were the criticisms of the Faculty of Civil Engineering regarding this project and why does this academic institution believe that the plan from 1981 better meets the needs of modern Belgrade than the current plan; what will the stations look like? – these and other questions were written about in eKapija’s articles, and our portal also put the subject in focus, which also proved to be a popular section.

A large number of you also read about the “Belgrade Diameters” project (which is being negotiated with the Russians and which pertains to suburban railway lines which pass through the city) and the plans for the expansion of the Belgrade tram network, as part of the declared intention of the city authorities to make rail traffic the backbone of the public transport system of Belgrade.

2. Preljina-Pozega Highway

The continuation of the construction of the Milos Veliki highway toward the country’s southwest, as expected, drew a lot of interest. We have already said that the traffic on the outer bypass route around Cacak (Preljina-Pakovrace) should open soon, which is supposed to unload the inner, so far the only one, narrow route with those terrible traffic lights. It’s going to take a lot of boring to get to Pozega, however. Even if all the Chinese companies joined forces, they wouldn’t be able to push the tunnels through the Jelica mountain as far as the local authorities would like.

Works on the Preljina-Pozega section
Works on the Preljina-Pozega section (Photo: preduzeće Putevi Srbije)

3. Pozarevac Interchange-Golubac Fast Route

We now go to eastern Serbia: the partners from the Far East – Shandong Hi Speed Group – have taken it upon themselves to build a four-lane fast road from the Pozarevac interchange on the highway to Golubac. The works are worth EUR 337 million. The deadline is November 2024.

4. Gruza Corridor

Next comes the fast road through central Serbia – very lacking in infrastructure: Kragujevac-Mrcajevci. eKapija exclusively announced the planned route of the new road, with four lanes of 3.5 meters each and a median strip of 3 meters.

5. Belgrade-North Macedonia Fast Railway

Here comes the famous southern railway, now nearly non-existent – you can’t travel from Belgrade through the proverbial Mala Krsna, and as for the route through Mladenovac, the train is around 30% likely to derail at 20 kilometers per hour. Trains are missed in the poorer part of Serbia, as bus fares are expensive, and they’re getting promises from Belgrade that everything begins with the two new tracks for 160 km/h between Stalac and Djunis. Closer to Belgrade, it seems that the long since planned new route Resnik-Klenje-Mali Pozarevac-Velika Plana is to be abandoned. In Serbia, it seems that only eKapija writes about such “small matters” – and these are strategically important structures for the state – so we’ve had some readers. The railway to the south should also be aided by the EU.

6. Bridge in the Extension of Evrope Blvd, Novi Sad

Unlike Belgrade, which has a decades-long problem with traffic jams, Novi Sad is actively trying to meet the future needs, so it is already preparing the construction of a fourth bridge on the Danube. In fact, from Evrope Blvd on the Backa side, to Sremska Kamenica, the route will be longer than 2.5 kilometers, of which 1.5 km will be de-leveled on the structure (bridge and access roads).

7. Belgrade-Novi Sad-Subotica Fast Railway

The subtitle is in fact wrong, because, in the world, the fast railways (“railways for high speeds”) are those for 250 km/h and up, but since the local propaganda has caught on, even we often call this railway fast. It will indeed be fast – the express train will be able to travel it in 36 minutes, they say, and whether a ride will be cheap enough for everyday commute will be shown by the price lists of Srbija Voz (a company whose practice, it must be said, is not encouraging – the satirical news site once “reported” that the company had switched to the Julian calendar).

A Swiss bilevel train for the Serbian fast railway
A Swiss bilevel train for the Serbian fast railway (Photo: Print screen / YouTube / Portal Univerzum HD)

8. The Danube Bridge Between Nestin and Backa Palanka

There is already a bridge near Backa Palanka, but it leads to Croatia, and as the two former Yugoslav republics are not in the Schengen Area, that’s a problem for the local populace on the opposite bank of the Danube who must go to Backa Palanka every day. Crossing the river by boat is out of fashion. That’s why a new bridge is being planned.

9. Prokop Railway Station

One of the two main railway stations according to the unfortunate solution for the new hub – Prokop – now finally has its current plan. We now know what it will look like, through it’s slightly less known when it will be completed, because the state’s private partner, Railway City, due to protests of the local residents, has been left without the option to raise buildings facing the station, in that old military neighborhood which numerous residents of Belgrade use as a parking lot when they commute by trolley. The Prokop saga continues, 44 years since the beginning of the construction.
(Photo: Davor Stupar)

10. Bypass Route Around Belgrade

The transport top 10 is closed off with another project, slightly younger than Prokop. This one began in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell – that recently. In April, another 7.7 km of the road, in the full profile, opened for traffic, and there have been announcements that it will finally reach Bubanj Potok by the end of this year. What about the rest of it, to beyond Pancevo? Well, that road leads across the murky Danube.

M. Radonjic

We presented the 10 investments that drew the most attention from our readers when it comes to transportation. Make sure to take a look at the full list HERE.


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