KOMARNA, August 7, 2020 — Construction continues on the Pelješac Bridge (Pelješki most), the largest and most important construction site in Croatia. However, officials are now expecting a two month delay.
At the site Luka Bebić, the former Speaker of Parliament, watches Chinese workers from his terrace every morning.
“I like to watch from 6:30 am, when the construction workers wake up. I enjoy observing the progress and see all of the activities from here,” Bebić revealed to Dnevnik.hr.
He has been spending summers in Komarna for more than half a century. He claims that he was the first to present the idea of the Pelješac Bridge: “Since ’98, after I proposed building a bridge in Parliament, it has taken 22 years to materialize. It is a great pleasure.”
In the meantime, he also supported the 2012 protests to build the bridge.
“I believe that it was an appropriate way to show the Croatian and European public that we needed to build the Pelješac Bridge,” Bebić said. In September 2012, when citizens and residents created a pontoon bridge between Brijesta and Komarna with about 500 boats. In essence they built a symbolic bridge across the Mali Ston bay.
Regarding present-day construction activities, Bebić points out that “they transport the workers to the site at 6:30 in the morning and return them at 6:30 in the evening. That means that they are doing double shifts as far as I can tell.”
Bridge Construction Two Months Behind Schedule
There are currently about 600 workers on the construction site, who are waiting for material to arrive from the east.
“As of now, we foresee a delay of about two months. We cannot assess how much the production delays in China factories will impact the Pelješac Bridge completion date. A key factor is how much the contractor can speed up field installation after the parts arrive,” explained Jeroslav Šegedin from Croatian Roads (Hrvatske ceste).
Crossing borders, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a big problem, so many eagerly await the Pelješac Bridge opening.
“It’s a disaster when I drive through Neum. Even worse, I takes me an hour or two to get to Pelješac,” Stanislav Vujević revealed.
Despite the epidemic, tourists have been coming to Komarna this year too.
“As for the season, we have seen a spike in tourist stays since the middle of July. Therefore, we were hardly feeling the impact before that. Overall, our numbers are 30 percent worse than last year,” explained Ivo Jerković, President of the Komarna Local Board.
Neretva Valley Day Trips to Increase After Pelješac Bridge
Smiljan Mustapić, Mayor of Slivno, indicates that locals living near the construction site are already benefiting from the Pelješac Bridge.
“At the moment, some of our residents are working in maintenance and logistics on the bridge. Many of our apartments are rented, so the construction benefits us in any case,” he added.
“I think one-day excursions to the Neretva Valley will increase because of guests from Dubrovnik and nearby areas, who arrive by plane and cruise ship.”
He also said they plan to rebuild the local roads leading to the Pelješac Bridge.
“We have already completed plans and received permits for upgrading these roads. We have submitted a tender and plan to pave these roads in the next year or two,” Mustapić concluded.
Follow our Travel page to stay up-to-date on the Pelješac Bridge construction and out infrastructure improvements in Croatia. Check out the China Road and Bridge Corporation site here for an excellent gallery of construction progress.