Source: eKapija | Sunday, 10.07.2011.| 19:26
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Tunnel instead of bridge near Ada - New bridges in Belgrade: plans, ideas and implementation

(Belgrade's bridges)

When we take a look at the past of Belgrade, it seems that former rulers and managers of the city were not in a hurry to bridge the Sava and cross to the other side of the river, which is why travelers and citizens of Belgrade are now "sick and tired" of constant traffic jams on the city bridges. Belgrade first get pontoon bridges, while the first "real" stable facility that connected the two banks of the Sava was the Old Railway Bridge, built in 1884. Belgrade today has eight bridges, two under construction, and four in the pipeline.

Bridge near Ada, bridge across the Sava, Novak's bridge...

The first pontoon bridge near Ada Ciganlija was laid in 1521, at the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, while the new bridge in that location will be completed by the end of 2011. This bridge is considered a decoration of Belgrade, the country's pride, the greatest bridge building project in Europe, but it is also a much too expensive bridge. Completion of the facility that will connect New Belgrade and Cukarica is one of the priorities of the Belgrade Development Strategy, which was adopted in June. Works on the new junction across the Sava are slowly entering the final phase, and the two banks are expected to "touch" as early as in August. Once finished, the bridge near Ada will become a new symbol of Belgrade - with a pylon 200 meters high, it will be drawing attention of all passers-by and tourists from abroad.

(Novak's Bridge, Patriarch Pavle's Bridge, Giraffe, Sailboat, Spider...?)

The bridge across the Sava, at the lower tip of Ada Ciganlija, will be 964 meters long, 45 meters wide, while its main span will be 376 meters long. It will have six traffic lanes, two rails for railway traffic, and two pedestrian-bicycle trails.

A documentary about the making of the new Belgrade bridge at Ada Ciganlija was recently shown on the U.S. TV channel Discovery, as part of a new season of the popular series "Build it Bigger". "What makes this bridge at Ada specific is the fact that all parts are made manually at the spot", Danny Forster, the host of this show, said in that episode and added that "the bridge is the biggest bridge building project in Europe and the first mega project in Belgrade after the 1990's".

Until the bridge is opened to traffic, the building site at Ada, which has been visited by over 2,000 people over the last year, will continue to attract experts and students from Serbia, region and Europe.

Miodrag Ferencak
Miodrag Ferencak (Photo: ekapija)

Miodrag Ferencak, a famous town planner from Belgrade, says in an interview for eKapija that this is one of rare projects whose implementation started quickly after its design was completed because, usually, such ideas are being considered for years, or even decades.

- The announcement itself seemed too ambitious, there were many skeptics, but I think now, when we already see how the bridge looks like, that it will be a very successful project that does not violate the existing ambiance of Ada. In some earlier announcements, the bridge at Ada was even supposed to be a tunnel. However, in 2003, when possible solutions were discussed, the bridge emerged as the best solution – Ferencak explains.

(the Sava bridge under construction)

The city officials have specified on several occasions that the bridge costs EUR 2,719 per square meter, that is, EUR 3,209 with VAT included. At the beginning of the construction, they claimed that the bridge alone cost EUR 120 million, without access roads, but certain experts say that the project is already now worth over EUR 400 million.

- It is a big, contemporary investment, and we should not save money when it comes to such things. The most important is that the bridge is well designed, functional, and well built - says Ferencak.

There was also an initiative that the bridge at Ada should be named Novak's Bridge after successful tennis player Novak Djokovic. We will see what will become of that, but what is for certain is that a model of the bridge, thousand times smaller than the real facility, with all access roads, will be finished within next few days and shown to the public by Vladan Jankovic and several other architects.

Chinese bridge, Japanese bridge, bridge near Vinca - bridges on the Danube

The Borca-Zemun bridge, across the Danube, is the first infrastructure project within the framework of an agreement between the governments of Serbia and China, which was signed in August 2009 in Beijing. An agreement on the bridge construction was signed in mid-April 2011 by Mayor Dragan Djilas, Verica Kalanovic, the minister for NIP at the time, and Lou Shan, deputy president of China Road and Bridge Corporation, the Chinese company that will build the bridge. The foundation stone at the bank in Zemun was laid in mid-July 2010 by Serbian President Boris Tadic and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China Wu Bangguo.

the Chinese bridge
the Chinese bridge

Both Chinese and our side announced in June that the construction would commence by the year's end at the latest, or maybe even in July, while the mayor of Belgrade promised that the bridge would be opened in 2013.

Our "Chinese" bridge is 1.7 km long (about 21 km long with all access roads), its span is 50 meters long, and it is 29 meters high. People at the Transport Institute CIP, which is designing this bridge in association with the Chinese, stated that we would get a facility in accordance with all European and world standards for as low price as EUR 170 million.

The Zemun-Borca bridge is part of the bypass around Belgrade and it connects the Zrenjanin and Pancevo roads. It should serve as a better traffic link for over half a million citizens of Belgrade's boroughs Zemun, Palilula and New Belgrade. The "Chinese" bridge with all accompanying roads will represent a regional link between Belgrade and South Banat, thus strategically connecting Corridor 10 with Corridor 4 and Romania.

So-called "Chinese" and "Japanese" bridges are included in the 1972 Master Plan.

- The "Japanese" bridge is planned to be situated downstream from the Pancevo Bridge. It was supposed to be financed, designed and built by the Japanese, while we were supposed to build access roads only. We prepared thorough plans for these roads, while the Japanese went "into details". For example, they were bothered by the fact that some roads would pass through illegal settlements. Our side promised to settle such issues, but nothing changed until the next time we saw each others, and that is how the story with them ended, at least for the time being. They even announced construction of a brand new town on 1,000 ha on the side of Banat, which was not in our plans at the time – Miodrag Ferencak remembers.

(the Danube, near Zemun)

There is also an option to bridge the Danube near Vinca as well. The estimated value of the bridge near Vinca, without accompanying roads, is about EUR 100 million. Possible partners in the making of that bridge are the Chinese.

Nikola Hajdin, builder of bridges and president of SANU, has recently said that Belgrade also needs that third bridge on the Danube, as part of the road to Banat and Romania.

In 2007, the Traffic Institute CIP was developing three variants of a railway-road bridge across the Danube on the future highway. The length of that bridge (2.1 km in the first variant, 2.2 km in the second variant, and 3 km in the third variant) will be determined by the final design of the railway section and road from Beli Potok beneath Avala mountain, Bubanj Potok and Vinca, to Pancevo, Vrsac and Romania, or to Zrenjanin and Kikinda.

According to CIP's estimates, its construction would take about three years, and the bridge would play a very important role in the transport of goods because it would shorten the time of transport and cut the costs.

the Sava amphitheater... in the future?
the Sava amphitheater... in the future?

In the opinion of experts, many roads will lead to that bridge and go from them to business centers in Serbia and in the Balkans. Goods arriving from Bari to Bar and are then transported via the main railway route Belgrade-Bar will have a new exit to the north of Europe via Vinca and Pancevo.

Bridge at the Sava amphitheater – Road between Continental and Delta

- Another bridge is required in the area between the Old Sava Bridge and the Gazela Bridge. That bridge would have to be 9 meters high and its span should be 150 meters long. It would go from Milentija Popovica street in New Belgrade, that is, the route will go to Zorana Djindjica boulevard – says Miodrag Ferencak.

Former bridge for hot water pipeline near Obrenovac becomes significant junction

(Bridge near Obrenovac)

The bridge at Ada is not the only junction across the Sava that is currently under construction. The bridge between Obrenovac and Surcin, worth EUR 15 million, should also be finished by the year's end. The steel part of this bridge, which was built 20 years ago for the needs of a hot water pipeline, is 450 meters long.

The implementation of this project started in the 1990's, but the works were quickly discontinued. After 14 years, road workers are again on the site.

The new bridge on the Sava consists of six steel structures and it is part of a longer road route of the Srem Gazela, which will go from the bridge to the cloverleaf interchange Dobanovci on the highway.

Once opened, the bridge at Ada Ciganlija should relieve the traffic congestion on the existing bridges and in Vojvode Misica boulevard by about 40 percent. According to expert estimates, one more bridge is necessary on the Sava and another one on the Danube. Construction of the Zemun-Borca bridge is the most certain, while it is still uncertain what the next "symbol" of Belgrade will be.

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