Tirana-Durres highway ‘nightmare’ finally coming to an end

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 28, 2018 12:30

Tirana-Durres highway ‘nightmare’ finally coming to an end

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  • The World Bank-supported emergency intervention is only considered a temporary solution to Albania’s main highway which needs deeper intervention to bring it to standards

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TIRANA, June 28 – Albania’s main Tirana-Durres highway is in its final stage of an emergency intervention after having degraded and turned into a nightmare for drivers over the past year.

The highway’s Tirana-Durres carriageway has already been reconstructed by repairing huge damaged layers of asphalt which had turned into a cause of road accidents and pushed drivers to take the fast lane in order to avoid constant potholes and damaging their tyres.

More than two weeks of reconstruction have caused traffic chaos along the country’s main highway linking the biggest two cities, often irritating drivers and holidaymakers over the late reconstruction at a time when traffic has significantly increased as the country gears up for its peak tourist season.

Reconstruction is now being carried on the Durres-Tirana highway with traffic deviated to secondary roads in specific segments and is expected to finish in the next few days.

The World Bank-supported emergency intervention is only considered a temporary solution to Albania’s main 30-km highway which needs deeper intervention to bring to standards.

“The Tirana-Durres highway is the main economic corridor of the country that connects the capital with the main port, Durrës, and the north to the south. About 40 percent of the country’s population live across this segment. Some of the most important businesses and shopping centers operate along it and half of the country GDP is produced there,” says the World Bank.

“With a daily traffic flow of 45,000 cars, its reconstruction was a necessity. With the support of a World Bank project, repair works are competing soon. And it implies more than just new asphalt layers, road safety elements have been boosted to reduce the number of road accidents,” it adds.

Built in the early 2000s, the Tirana-Durres highway was the country’s first major infrastructure work following the early 1990s collapse of the communist regime when private car ownership was banned.

However, high traffic and poor quality construction works at that time and lack of proper maintenance have taken it to bad condition and authorities are now mulling to award its maintenance to a concessionaire and make it a toll road.

A highway linking Albania to Kosovo is currently the country’s first toll road with tolling expected to start next September following protests and re-negotiated lower fees for local northeast Albania residents.

Several new highways that are expected to be built under public private partnerships as part of an ambitious but rather controversial €1 billion PPP program are set to become toll roads.

Albania has one of Europe’s highest death tolls from road accidents with an estimated 15 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants with poor road condition and careless driving being the main reasons behind such high death toll. About 2,000 road accidents took place last year in Albania, with a death toll of 222, the lowest level for the past six years when data is available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 28, 2018 12:30