Two Ways to “Milos Veliki” Highway, French-Chinese Subway and Swiss “Soko” – 2022 Retrospective, Investments in TRANSPORTATION

Source: eKapija Tuesday, 31.01.2023. 11:10
(Photo: YouTube/Putevi Srbije/screenshot - A. Kekić - Beoinfo)
Our readers seemed to have preferred concrete highways than a promised subway, as they put the biggest ultra-giga project of all time, the excavation of the tunnel for French unmanned trains using Chinese machines and money, below the construction of an ordinary access road going through the muddy grounds of Srem on the list of the most read news about transportation. Because it is a miracle that such a transportation infrastructure system is even being built in Belgrade, and that it’s not exactly Patrijarha Pavla Blvd, whose paving, it seems, will be done by engineers who enrolled at the Faculty of Civil Engineering before the coronavirus, since the workers were already well present in the valley of the Topciderska River back then, building said boulevard. Probably due to that small thing, the fact that the city full of traffic bottlenecks for decades has been waiting for several meaningful project that could alleviate this hellish situation, special attention was paid to a direct connection with the “Milos Veliki” highway, which is at the same time a new exit from the city, toward the west.

“The rest” of Serbia, regarding the development of traffic routes, is still in the so-called Golden Age anyway.

So, then, let’s list all the road, rail and air routes that our readers found the most interesting in 2022, the year in which the respiratory infection was not the predominant topic.

1. New Belgrade-Surcin

Toward the end of 2022, we were told, in brief, that, by the end of March, New Belgrade will be connected with the “Milos Veliki” highway near Surcin by a new city main road with six lanes, without a breakdown lane.

Between us, the property disputes with all the owners who need to be moved out due to this connection are not yet finished, and when the deadline was set for March, it didn’t seem too realistic, because only about ten days before the deadline, a court hearing is scheduled regarding one of the parcels whose owner is resisting expropriation by the state. Now, if a court decision can be made, if everything can then be demolished and swept away and if then everything that should be built can be built, all in two to three weeks… However, it will happen, which is the most important thing, and these statements have been in the post-truth zone for a long time now, so we are here expressing our surprise that this was, in fact, the most read article… There was a possibility for the new road to initially be linked with the street network of New Belgrade through (the narrow) Vinogradska Street, but that wasn’t done, so now we have the biggest cul-de-sac in waiting, ever since the clay highway Ub-Lajkovac, which has since gone to ruin from all the waiting.

The second connection, the one with Jurija Gagarina Street, is still in the designing phase.

2. Waiting for the subway

In the tunnel in the dark… a Chinese machine is supposed to bore through the ground to enable trains which will be managed by the Paris public transport company to run, which will be unmanned. And the stations will likely feature a safety system in the form of security fences, making it impossible to fall on the tracks. The first line, it seems, will not go to Prokop after all, even though this was advocated by the president himself. Instead, it will go about a hundred meters past it.

It is still being announced super-optimistically, even though there’s been something like World War 3 outside the tunnel for some time now, that Belgrade will already have two subway lines, nearly all of it below the ground, as soon as 2030. We are waiting for the contracts with the (Chinese) contractors, with professional curiosity about how many zeros might be on those contracts in total.

3. Sumadija-Gruza corridor(s)

Officially, the Sumadija Corridor is a project of special importance for Serbia, which is as it should be, because not many countries have a part of the country that is so central, and yet so isolated from modern traffic routes. With a total length of 136 kilometers, the Sumadija main road has branched out on the planning maps like an old oak tree and is supposed to encompass the sections Orasac-Topola-Raca-Markovac, then Mali Pozarevac-Sopot-Mladenovac-Orasac-Arandjelovac and then also Zupanjac-Lazarevac-Orasac. The Gruza Corridor, that is, the fast route Kragujevac-Mrcajevci, which is supposed to merge with the Morava Corridor, is connected into a whole with it. The people are silent, probably wondering if the inflation and the crisis will hinder this attempt to build boulevards and streets in the Sumadija District as well.

4. Belgrade bypass route

Back to some whining in Belgrade, and justified whining at that: Zagreb has had this sort of thing for over 40 years, just like any other bigger city, except for the ever contrarian Vienna: a bypass highway. The then competent minister said we would have it by March. As this is now the new minister’s deadline for the project from our number 1, this one has been extended by a few months. And as we wrote recently, the supervision got the contract until the New Year… Olympic one, that is. For this year, the job from the Orlovaca interchange to the Strazevica tunnel was done.

You’ve probably already heard from official sources, as this is repeated at regular time intervals, that, once these works are done, the current highway will “become a city boulevard”. If anyone is wondering what this means exactly, the answer, confidentially, is that it means nothing.

New interchange near Bubanj Potok (Photo: YouTube/Putevi Srbije /screenshot)New interchange near Bubanj Potok

5. Obrenovac-Ostruznica, via landslide

The readers also highly valued the promise that the new fast route Obrenovac-Ostruznica, along the right coast of the Sava, would be built. This is necessary because the highway to Obrenovac has been built – along the left coast of the Sava – so people sometimes find it difficult to go around that much, even with cruise control at 130. In fact, the construction of the new road along the right coast started a long-long time ago, but they ran into a landslide – one of the biggest ones in Europe, they say.

Over half a century ago, train transport was discontinued on the right coast; now the plan is for it to be brought back to Obrenovac – along the left coast.

6. Karadjordje Highway to Zijin

(Photo: Koridori Srbije)
The sixth spot features the highway (or maybe it ends up being merely a fast route?) called Vozd Karadjordje. It is, in fact the northern transverse route from our 3rd spot on the list, but with a breakthrough toward Bor and Eastern Serbia, until now spared from either fast railroads or roads, which gives special significance to this project, or should we say, this idea.

7. Soko flying high

Disappointingly, the Soko (Falcon) fast train placed only seventh. This train runs at 200 kilometers per hour on the new railroad from Belgrade to Novi Sad and we also took a ride on it and gave it a positive review. There’s a superstition that Serbs avoid trains like Satan, preferring paved roads or even cobblestones, perhaps even horse-drawn carriages. In reality, with the opening of the already short railroad, the number of rail passengers in Serbia doubled; both the Swiss Soko and its slightly slower counterpart, which doesn’t exceed 160 km/h, are often as full as public transit buses. It now takes 33 minutes to travel by Soko from the Novi Sad station to New Belgrade, which is the business center of the capital of Serbia, just don’t tell the people of Novi Sad that this now practically makes them Belgradians…

Plane-like Soko train (Photo: eKapija / Aleksandra Kekić)Plane-like Soko train

8. Zrenjanin highways

One of the projects that are just about to be done… but not quite… is the Belgrade-Zrenjanin-Novi Sad highway. The most recent thing we’ve learned is that the Ecka interchange will be closer to the future Linglong factory than previously planned – local companies also asked for it to be so. Trucks from the industrial zone – around 1,000 a day are expected – will thereby travel by a shorter route to Novi Sad, that is, to Western and Northern Europe, which is their market.

At the beginning of the year, we heard that the City of Belgrade insisted on having the reconstruction of the Zrenjanin Road, modest even by the standards of Borca, included in the project of the new Banat highway, which, to be fair, is planned to begin in Ovca.

9. Cacak bypass route

Finally, the opening of a road on our list! Not just any kind either: short, but… efficient. Hardly any another route only 11 and a half kilometers long will shorten the travel times toward the southeast Serbian and Montenegro as much as the bypass route around Cacak, section Preljina-Pakovrace. The old, narrow road, with even narrower intersections and non-smart traffic light, which was pompously called a bypass route (and still is), is no more, and those who know they way around Cacak could have reached Pozega faster by cutting through the city center.

10. New Port of Belgrade

This summer, it was decided for the new Belgrade port to be built in Krnjaca, downstream from the existing Danube port – which is supposed to become a new waterfront settlement – but also from the Pancevo Bridge, which is not exactly the most suitable bridge beneath which to navigate. This means that a sail to the Black Sea from here will be more comfortable than a sail to the Rhine and the Main. A location 10 kilometers upstream from the Pupin Bridge, also on the Banat side, was previously a candidate for the location of the new port of Belgrade, and there was also an option to simply rename the Pancevo port as the Port of Belgrade (which it, in fact, already is).

M. Radonjic

We presented the list of the most read news in the field of investments in transportation, whose full contents you can view HERE.


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