EBRD loan to improve traffic flow in Belgrade

€80 million loan for Belgrade Highway and Bypass

London, United Kingdom – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is lending €80 million to the Public Enterprise Serbian Roads to support the rehabilitation of the motorway approach roads leading to the principal bridge across the Sava River in central Belgrade, known as the Gazela bridge, and to complete a key section of the Belgrade Bypass. Together these investments will greatly improve the traffic flow in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. The Loan is guaranteed by the Republic of Serbia.

The proceeds of this loan will be used to modernise and improve the urban sections of the E75 and E70 motorways, leading to the Gazela Bridge, as well as to construct Section A, which is the north-west part of the Belgrade Bypass. The project has been jointly prepared with the Serbian government and the European Investment Bank.

The bridge and the associated highways are the most traffic-intensive routes in Belgrade. They form part of Trans-European Corridor X. More than 150,000 vehicles use the Gazela bridge and the adjacent roads every day and traffic levels have now reached maximum capacity. Traffic congestion is now a critical problem.

Signing the project, EBRD Business Group Director for Central Europe, Western Balkans and Telecommunications, Peter Reiniger, said that this project is an essential part of Serbia’s strategy to improve traffic flow in the city and improve links with countries in the region and the European Union (EU), through Corridor X.

Improving road infrastructure, especially in the context of facilitating cross-border transport and trade, is core to the EBRD’s drive to support overall economic development.

The Bank has mobilised grant funds to assist the City of Belgrade identify the needs of the members of the Roma community who are affected by the building work, so as to prepare a Resettlement Action Plan.

“The EBRD is working with the City of Belgrade to prepare a Resettlement Action Plan in accordance with international best practice and to help the project-affected persons improve their living conditions. The EBRD is pleased with the commitment being shown by the City authorities to complete this process in an effective manner” Mr Reiniger said.

Technical support for this project has been provided by the EU’s European Agency for Reconstruction, the UK Department for International Development, and the Italian government. The funds have been used for feasibility studies, preparation of the Resettlement Action Plan, a programme of institutional strengthening and engineering supervision.

The EBRD has already signed two loans with the Public Enterprise Serbian Roads. The first loan, the Road Recovery Project, was signed in 2002. It financed a programme of rehabilitation on sections of Corridor X. The Bank’s second loan, the Belgrade-Novi Sad motorway project was signed in 2005. Those funds are being used to upgrade the road from Belgrade to Novi Sad, together with construction of a new bridge across the Danube.

The EBRD is the largest investor in Serbia, having committed more than €1.2 billion in 75 projects. In the transport sector alone, the EBRD has committed more than €290 million.