The people of the Western Balkans know how to keep going, even in troubled times. Still, it’s impressive that, despite the economic and social difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction work on a new transport artery in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to transform rugged terrain into a modern, sleek highway that will benefit travel speeds and road safety.
Uninterrupted work on this major regional highway, known as Corridor Vc, has been possible thanks to precautionary measures set up by authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the contractors, who introduced rigorous safety protocols and protective equipment. The health of construction workers is monitored daily and the sites are regularly disinfected. The aim of these efforts is to keep operations going, retain jobs and ensure regular incomes for the people engaged on this project.
“We try to reorganise our work as much as we can and keep going as we would in normal circumstances,” says Semir Muslic, site supervisor at Ivan Tunnel, one of the contractors.
“Construction sites are isolated zones. We work a couple of days in a row and rarely go home, to reduce the risk of exposure. All workers here are like a family. Most important for us is to stay healthy and keep our jobs.”:
Despite COVID-19 pandemic Bosnia and Herzegovina ensures timely supply
It’s a daunting task to provide adequate medical safety measures and restrictions and, at the same time, to ensure timely procurement and supply of construction materials and spare parts for machinery. COVID-19 has disrupted supply and production chains globally. EU support, through various initiatives, has been essential for the Western Balkans, enabling easier circulation of goods within the region and into the EU, for all kinds of projects, including the Corridor Vc construction.
“Despite the current crisis caused by the coronavirus, which will have significant consequences on the economy and budget, the government of Republika Srpska does not give up its strategic projects, the planned dynamics and timeline of their implementation,” Djordje Popovic, Minister of Transport and Communications for the Republika Srpska, one of the two entities that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We hope that for all these projects, as before, we will have the support of the European Union and that the planned grant funds for transport projects will not be reduced.”