Peljesac Bridge Project
Total Reported Cost
651.0 million EUR
Start of Construction
Planned Completion Date
The new bridge will connect the Dubrovnik–Neretva County to the rest of Croatia, by crossing the Mali Ston Bay over the Adriatic Sea. This will facilitate a smooth flow of goods and people, especially at the peak of the tourist season, according to the European Commission. The project is vital for the Dubrovnik–Neretva County, which currently lacks direct connection with the rest of Croatia. As it stands now, overland travelers need to pass through a coastal territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a non-EU country, to access mainland Croatia, an EU member, thereby passing through two customs checks.
The bridge project has experienced numerous funding issues with several contracts terminated over the past two decades. The construction of the bridge began in 2007, but was halted in 2012 amidst financial problems and objections from neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina. As part of the last series of efforts to get the project off the ground, in July 2017, the European Commission allocated 357 million euros of European Union funding for the construction of Peljesac Bridge - accounting for 85% of the total costs of construction. This funding was given as part of the Cohesion Policy of the European Union.
The bidding process of the project has caused much controversy. According to Reuters, Austria’s Strabag placed a 2.6 billion kuna bid and a consortium of Italy’s Astaldi and Turkey’s IC Ictas placed a 2.5 billion kuna joint bid for the project, in comparison to the 2.08 billion kuna bid by a Chinese consortium led by the state-owned Chinese Road and Bridge Corporation. In January 2018, Croatia chose the Chinese consortium to construct the bridge and signed the contract with them in April 2018. However, the competing bidders protested the contract over concerns of unfair competition. Strabag filed a lawsuit in a Croatia court in April 2018 and invoked the European Commission after Croatia’s state public procurement commission rejected complaints in March 2018 that the Chinese consortium had won with the help of state subsidies.
Furthermore, Bosnia and Herzegovina has challenged the construction bridge project due to unsettled sea border demarcations with Croatia. In April 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina said that they would take the issue to the European Commission, according to Balkan Insight.