Plans to turn key Tirana-Durres highway into toll road resurfice

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 17, 2019 10:41

Plans to turn key Tirana-Durres highway into toll road resurfice

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  • However, Balluku also said that all road projects intended to establish a pay toll will also offer an alternative road, which will be accessible free of charge. This demand comes after the problems caused by the Milot-Morina highway pay toll, where there is currently no alternative route offered and Kukes residents - some of the most impoverished in the country - are forced to pay, although reduced tariffs apply.

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TIRANA, May 16 – Within this year’s fall, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy plans the signing of a concession contract for the Tirana-Durres highway which, among others, foresees the establishment of a pay toll.  

The news was reported by Minister Belinda Balluku, who says that the project for the highway has been handed over to investors, while their interest in an offer is being expected.

“I have recently been in contact with many foreign investors. The ministry has prepared separate requests for each project to find the right partnership, even from the point of view of the experiences that foreign investors have, but also from the point of view of the development interest they have in our country. So, the Tirana-Durres road has been handed over to some foreign investors who have shown interest as it is the main axis linking the capital to our international port. As it is well known, that highway touches Albania’s industrial zone and not just Tirana or Durres. So, I believe investor interest, will be expressed soon too,” Balluku said.

Talk about turning the key highway into a road toll first began in November 2018, through a concession that would not damage state finances, but sharply increase travel costs for the country’s residents, already facing some of Europe’s highest fuel prices.

As that particular offer didn’t pick up, the opportunity to turn the highway into another toll road was not forgotten.

However, Balluku also said that all road projects intended to establish a pay toll will also offer an alternative road, which will be accessible free of charge.

“All the roads that will be considered to enter a paid concession project will constitute routes that will also offer an alternative. This means that citizens can use the alternative route free of charge. Also, what we intend in our pair-roads projects is for the builder or investor to undertake the rehabilitation of existing roads. This is a new element we are trying to put into new contracts and would normally be in favor of citizens and the Albanian state, of course,” Balluku said.

This demand comes after the problems caused by the Milot-Morina highway pay toll, where there is currently no alternative route offered and Kukes residents – some of the most impoverished in the country – are forced to pay, although reduced tariffs apply.

Back in the summer of 2018, when the Milot-Morina highway road toll was first introduced, protests from area’s residents turned violent, temporarily suspending its operation.

The re-introduction of the tolls was delayed for September to allow residents of Kosovo get to Albania at no extra fee during the summer and prevent a possible boycott from the country with the highest number of tourists to Albania.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 17, 2019 10:41