The Slovenia Times

Coastal Expressway Tunnel Opening Decades After It was Conceived


The idea for the Markovec tunnel, whose main effect will be the freeing up of the overburdened local road running right along the waterfront, goes back to the 1980s, but zoning plans were not adopted before 2004.

Things started complicating further immediately after that because of opposition by locals and delayed tenders, with the national motorway company picking only in 2008 a group of Italian companies headed by Vidoni for the project.

Successful appeals were filed by Slovenian rivals SCT and Primorje, followed by more appeals and a decision in December 2009 to give the project to CPM from Maribor along with Austria's Alpine Bau.

Following CPM's collapse, Alpine Bau continued on its own in 2011 to also end up in receivership in 2013. CVP in┼żeniring, Grafist and Hipox were entrusted with finishing the job.

Meanwhile, taking the spotlight in recent months has been the dispute over the need to have toll stickers to use the tunnel.

In exchange for accepting the fact that the new expressway section will be tolled, the communities of Koper, Izola and Piran will take possession of the coastal road, which they intend to shut down.

The government announced that the management of the coastal road will be in the domain of all three municipalities, and that the state will not interfere.

The existing road is perched on a narrow flat strip at the foot of a steep hill, leaving little space for recreation.

There is a narrow walkway along the road popular among cyclists and joggers, but in summer the road is so congested that the coastal strip is largely abandoned.

The freeing up of the road is expected to change this, but locals fear that drivers without motorway toll stickers will reroute to the small roads over the tunnel hill, putting the streets and the residents under unsustainable stress.


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