Bechtel and joint-venture partner Enka today completed construction on the Albanian Motorway
, a 37-mile (61-km), four-lane highway that stretches from central Albania to the to Kosovo border. The motorway is now open to traffic.
The end of construction was marked by a ceremony to open a second tunnel bore, the final section of the motorway. Ministers of transport from Albania and Kosovo, and additional senior officials from both countries, attended the opening. Speaking on behalf of the Albanian government, Sokol Olldashi, the minister of transport and telecommunications, thanked Bechtel-Enka for its commitment and the quality of work performed during construction of the motorway.
The motorway is the central leg of a 106-mile (171-km) highway traversing the country from the Adriatic Sea to the northeastern village of Kalimash near Kosovo. The new roadway cuts travel time along the route from six to two hours, boosting coastal trade and northeast tourism. The motorway also provides a vital connection within Albania and across the region, linking markets to the Adriatic port of Durres and contributing to economic growth as Albania prepares for accession to the European Union.
The Albanian Motorway is one of the largest-ever infrastructure projects in the country and presented many engineering challenges due to complexities of the geology in the region and the fast-track construction schedule. The motorway includes a 3.4-mile (5.5-km) twin bore tunnel and 29 bridges built in a rocky, mountainous region.
During construction, the project was the largest employer in the area, with Albanians accounting for two thirds of the workforce.