President Aleksandar Vucic and EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn on Saturdday formally opened the Zezelj Bridge in Novi Sad for road traffic.
The president thanked Hahn, who is in charge of EU’s enlargement negotiations and neighborhood policy, for the help that the EU has given to build the bridge, calling it a true friend of Serbia.
When I stop here and look at this beautiful bridge, I am not happy and proud just because of the work has ended, but because building bridges is what joint work is all about and why it is important. Bridges are always there where people’s needs are intertwined. Towards the future, towards goals, successful and worthy people, Vucic said, according to the remarks published by the Serbian government.
Vucic quoted the Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric saying that there is nothing we need more than to build bridges.
Hahn said that he could not imagine a better symbol than a bridge to describe the process of European integration.
European integration means building bridges between citizens, people, the past and the future. This beautiful bridge connects your city with the other bank of the river, but also your country with the EU, with a European family, Hahn said, stressing that this bridge is a symbol of the European future of Serbia.
He pointed out that the bridge will bring practical advantages to Novi Sad, and that it will have a big impact on the quality of life of citizens, that traffic that will be faster and easier, that it will reduce travel time and pollution.
The bridge is, Hahn recalled, the key link of the trans-European rail network and will allow navigation along the Novi Sad-Danube section, while at the same time it will restore the full capacity of road and rail transport.
The old Zezelj Bridge, which was destroyed during the 1999 NATO bombing, was built in 1961 according the project of architect Branko Zezelj, after whom the bridge was named, although its official title was the Bridge of Fraternity and Unity.
The opening of the bridge was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic, Mayor of Novi Sad Milos Vucevic and Prime Minister of Vojvodina Igor Mirovic, as well as directors of public companies.
The new Zezelj Bridge is steel-arch and is for railway and road transport.
It is 474 meters long, 31.45 meters wide, and the distance between the arch and the tooth is about 42 meters.
It has two rail tracks, which allow a speed of 160 kilometers per hour for passenger and 120 kilometers per hour for freight trains.
Two road strips have been made so that both have a width of 3.5 meters and correspond to vehicle speed standards of 80 to 100 kilometers per hour.
Also, there are two pedestrian paths 2.5 meters wide.
The bridge is of steel structure and it stands on five pillars, one of which is taken from the old bridge.
The construction of the bridge cost EUR 54 million, of which the EU funded the project with EUR 25 million.
The province of Vojvodina and the city of Novi Sad invested EUR 25 million, while the state of Serbia allocated EUR four million for the construction of the bridge.
The bridge is part of the railway Corridor 10 and will be part of the Belgrade-Budapest high speed railway.