Promoting regional integration and economic growth

Bechtel and joint-venture partner ENKA completed Kosovo’s first two motorways – Route 6 and Route 7. Together the motorways create a transport corridor from Kosovo’s border with Albania, via its capital, to its border with North Macedonia. The four-lane motorways form a key part of Kosovo’s national roads network – to boost trade, promote economic growth, and enhance connectivity. 

The motorways link also links in with a major pan-European transport corridor – Corridor X – that runs between Salzburg in Austria and Thessaloniki in Greece, passing through Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, unleashing trade opportunities with the rest of the world. The improved connectivity that the motorways bring to the Western Balkans and Western Europe is key for growth and jobs and will bring clear benefits for the region’s economies and citizens.

Bechtel-ENKA completed Route 7 in 2013 and Route 6 in 2019.

Fast Facts - Route 6

  • 13 bridges – including the 5.75 km-long Lepence Bridge, the longest in the Balkans
  • Tallest bridge pier: 74.5m
  • 8.4 million vehicle movements are expected per year
  • 19,100,000 m3 excavated material
  • 550,000 m3 structural concrete
  • 598,800 tons asphalt

Increased connectivity across the Balkans

Route 6 is a 65-km (40-mile) four-lane motorway that stretches from the country’s capital, Pristina, to North Macedonia. The motorway halved the travel time between the two points to just 45-minutes.

Route 7 is a 102-km (63.4-mile) dual-carriageway that runs from Morinë, at the southwest border with Albania, to the north of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. Route 7 was Kosovo’s first motorway and it serves as the centerpiece of the country’s national transport system. Route 7 was completed in record time.

Local capacity building

Bechtel-ENKA placed a high priority on employing Kosovars and local suppliers to benefit the local community and help Kosovo in the future.

At peak, the Route 6 project was the largest employer in Kosovo – 80% of the 3,350-strong workforce were Kosovan. The joint venture hired local subcontractors for about 70 percent of the work and excelled at procuring goods with local content. Supply chains built by the project team are expected to help serve future infrastructure projects in the region and contribute to long-term economic vitality in Kosovo.

In addition, local employees received almost 100,000 hours of training that provided them with new skills to use on future projects.

The local investment during the construction of Route 7 was similarly impressive. The project hired a workforce that included 70 percent local Kosovars and more than 10,000 Kosovars received training that provided them new skills that they can use in future jobs.

Sustainability at the core

The team focused on raising awareness about the environment by planting thousands of trees with students to form a green corridor alongside the motorway and initiating events including planning Kosovo’s first national short movie competition focused on the environment.

Alternative approach saves time and money

The Bechtel team delivered the motorway while maintaining a high level of safety and quality. Route 7 traverses mountainous terrain and has 11 bridges, four interchanges and 22 overpasses and underpasses. Before construction began in 2010, the team proposed a plan that included an alternative alignment for the motorway. The new alignment eliminated more than 3 miles (nearly 5 kilometers) of costly tunnels, saving time and hundreds of millions of euros for the government.

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A history of success in the region

The Bechtel-ENKA team has successfully delivered a number of major infrastructure projects in the region, including motorways in Albania, Croatia, Turkey and Romania. Together, the team has completed

  • More than 28,150-km of highways and roads
  • 100 tunnels totaling 355-km in length
  • 26 major bridges
  • 3 power plants

Boosting the local economy

The project contributed greatly to the region's economic development. Our team worked to procure goods with local content, hire local subcontractors, and directly employ the people of Kosovo.

The project hired a workforce that included 70 percent local Kosovars. Further, some 80 local contractors and hundreds of local suppliers worked on the project. Over the course of construction, more than 10,000 Kosovars received training that provided them new skills that they can use in future jobs.

Safety first

Bechtel and its partner Enka, together with the Kosovo government, launched a safety campaign along the Kosovo Motorway with the slogan “Yes to Safety, No to Speed.” The week-long campaign covered the entire route and encouraged responsible driving.

Awards for excellence

The Bechtel-Enka team has earned prestigious honors for its work on the Kosovo motorway. We won a Global Best Projects Award from Engineering News-Record magazine as well as two International Road Federation’s Global Road Achievement Awards.