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13 Mar 12

Turks to Build Underground Boulevard in Skopje

Turkey's Limak group is to start building a kilometre-long underground street in Macedonia's capital, aimed at easing traffic.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic Skopje

Skopje Mayor Koce Trajanovski [left] and Limak's Haldun Kokturk [right] | Photo by: skopje.gov.mk

The Mayor of Skopje, Koce Trajanovski, and Limak’s head of development, Haldun Kokturk, signed the deal on Monday.

Under the terms of the deal, the company will build the underground street and hand it over to the city for free. In return Limak will be able to build a large commercial and residential complex on land above the street.

Limak bought the site of 32,000 square metres in February for 3.3 million euros. Under the deal, the company has six years to complete the entire project, but it must first build the tunnel before it can start construction above ground.

Estimates are that the underground road will cost tens of million of euros. “The project is still in the development stage and we do not know exactly how much it will cost," Haldun Kokturk said.

Mayor Trajanovski said the underground street will “mark the beginning of construction of Skopje’s southern boulevard,” a 15km-long urban highway planned since the 1970s.
 
The underground street is one of two that the city plans to build in coming years to ease heavy traffic jams in the centre.

The authorities hope to start constructing the other tunnel, which is similar in length to the first one, by the end of this year.

This project, whose estimated cost is 30 million euros, will be funded from the state budget.

Limak is one of Turkey’s biggest companies. Its other projects in the region include the reconstruction of the airport in Pristina in Kosovo.

Turkish companies have gained a significant foothold in Macedonia in recent years.
 
Turkey's TAV last year reconstructed and now operates Skopje airport while Cevahir this year plans to start construction of four residential buildings and a shopping mall in Skopje. Koc, also from Turkey, operates one of Skopje’s biggest shopping malls.

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