Kosovo track works (Photo EBRD)

KOSOVO: Work has begun to modernise the 34 km Mitrovicë – Fushë Kosovë line as the second stage of a €208m three-phase programme to enhance the corridor linking North Macedonia with Serbia.

The route is part of the Western Balkans core rail network and an extension of the Trans-European Transport Network.

Work is already underway on upgrading the 67 km section from Fushë Kosovë to at Hani i Elezit on the border with North Macedonia.

Earlier this year infrastructure manager Infrakos awarded Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie a €48m contract to modernise the Fushë Kosovë – Mitrovicë section. This involves renewing the track and five stations in line with TEN-T standards, and will improve safety and increase the line speed to 100 km/h.

The programme is being financed with a €40m European Bank for Reconstruction & Development loan to Infrakos and a €42m European Investment Bank loan, and almost half the costs are to be covered by a €83m grant through the EU’s Western Balkans Investment Framework.

‘Kosovo is moving forward with the rehabilitation of its railway, the largest investment in the country’s transport infrastructure for decades’, said EBRD’s Head of Kosovo Neil Taylor on December 19. ‘It will connect Kosovo with the region and beyond and will help boost economic opportunities and make travel easier, safer and greener.’