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.
The Bechtel-Enka joint venture was supported by Albanian expertise, labor, materials, and services. During construction, the project was the largest employer in the area, with Albanians accounting for two-thirds of the workforce. In addition, 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.
Inside the project
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. It 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 prepares for accession to the European Union, which is pending.
- Instead of relying on diesel generators, for instance, the camps at Reps, Thirrë, and Kukës were hooked up to the country’s national hydro powered electricity grid.
- This dramatically cut fuel consumption, and carbon dioxide emissions dropped by more than 613,000 pounds (278,000 kilograms) per month.