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The European Investment Bank (EIB) is continuing to support transport infrastructure in the Western Balkans region by signing a EUR 100m loan to build the new highway linking Niš and Merdare in Serbia. The project concerns the construction of the first 32 km

(out of 100 km in total) section – also called the Highway of Peace – connecting Niš, one of the largest cities in Serbia, with Priština. The new road is part of the 314 km-long corridor connecting Southern and Eastern Europe. 

The project is worth EUR 255m and will also be supported by EUR 48m in grants under the Western Balkans Investment Framework platform (WBIF), consisting of a EUR 40.6m investment grant and a EUR 7.4m technical assistance grant for project preparation. It is expected that the project will be completed by the end of 2024.

The project includes the construction of four grade-separated junctions, six tunnels ranging from 200 to 1 200 m long, nine major bridges between 100 and 1 000 metres long, as well as rest areas, a local control centre and platforms for service stations. It will be constructed as a single carriageway, but will be designed for subsequent easy upgrading to full Trans European Motorway standards when traffic reaches the requisite level, expected in about 15 years’ time.

The finance contract and the investment grant were signed in Belgrade in the presence of the EU Commissioner for Mobility and Transport Violeta Bulc. The documents were signed by the EIB Director for Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia and Western Balkans Miguel Morgado, the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlović, the Minister of EU Integration Jadranka Joksimović, and the Assistant Director of the Corridors of Serbia Dušan Purić.