Modern motorway puts Albania in the fast lane
Bechtel and joint-venture partner Enka completed construction of a $535 million motorway in Albania. The 37-mile (61-kilometer), four-lane highway stretches from the town of Rrëshen, in the heart of the country, to the northeastern village of Kalimash. It is the central leg of a 106-mile (171-kilometer) highway traversing the country from the Adriatic Sea to the northeastern border with Kosovo. The highway cut travel time from six hours to two, boosting coastal trade and northeast tourism.
Inside the Project
The team building the Albanian motorway encountered many engineering challenges because of geological complexities and a fast-track construction schedule.
The scenic motorway, one of Albania’s largest infrastructure projects, includes a 3.4-mile (5.5-kilometer) twin-bore tunnel and 29 bridges built in a mountainous, rocky region.
The motorway provides a vital connection within Albania and across the region, linking markets to the Adriatic port of Durrës and contributing to economic growth as the nation prepared for accession to the European Union, which is pending.
Making a positive impact
Respect for the local community was among our top concerns. The Bechtel-Enka joint venture took full advantage of Albanian expertise, labor, materials, and services. Thinking and acting locally makes good business sense and leaves the region with a legacy of economic growth and a stronger skills base.
Protecting the environment
Minimizing the project’s carbon footprint was a top priority. Instead of relying on diesel generators, for instance, the camps at Reps, Thirrë, and Kukës were hooked up to the country’s national hydropowered electricity grid. We dramatically cut fuel consumption, and carbon dioxide emissions dropped by more than 613,000 pounds (278,000 kilograms) per month.
During construction, the project was the largest employer in the area, with Albanians accounting for two-thirds of the workforce. Connecting this project’s worker camps to Albania’s national electrical grid required partial reconstruction of and upgrades to the local grid. That made Bechtel-Enka the largest customer of the local utility, further supporting the local economy.