Long lines of vehicles and frustrated drivers are a common site at the Gradiška border crossing between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The situation is especially difficult for truckers, who frequently have to wait for up to eight hours, resulting in delays in delivering goods and commodities that severely impede economic growth.
Together with €3.15 million grant from the European Union, the European Investment Bank is financing construction of a new border crossing and bridge in Gradiška with a loan of €65 million, including the construction of a section of motorway between Banja Luka and Gradiška which was finished in 2011. Once the new border crossing is finished, it will provide a connection to the Trans-European Core Network on Corridor Vc and become a game-changer for the local economy. The 430-metre bridge over the River Sava will link the two countries and slash waiting times at the border on Route 2a, which runs 239 km from Lasva (Zenica) via Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Okučani in Croatia. It is expected to be completed by spring 2022.
“We wait at the border for five, six, seven sometimes even eight hours,” says truck driver Teran Mušinovič, who frequently commutes along this route. “I think that, when a new crossing is finished, the vehicle lines will be shorter and transit to European countries faster.”
Bosnia-Croatia border crossing is a faster and easier route to EU
Currently, the route runs through the urban area of Gradiška for approximately 2 km, causing traffic congestion, bottlenecks and air pollution. As part of the Corridor Vc investment project, the cross-border facilities have been built about 3 km to the west of the existing facilities and outside the urban area.
There are other benefits to the local economy and to people from both countries.
“This highway link to Europe means faster and easier arrival in Croatia,” says Marko Lovrić, an engineer on the Gradiška Bridge. “The exchange of goods and people will significantly increase, especially because the former border crossing was located in the city centre, causing large traffic jams and slow entrance into Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia alike.
“Building a new road all the way up to the border crossing and linking it directly to the highway will accelerate the flow of goods and people. In that way, communication will improve, as well as relations.”