The Pelješac Bridge was opened on the 26th of July in a gala ceremony that featured fireworks, acrobatic airplane displays and music and dance. The largest ever construction project in Croatian history is now open, a 2,404 metre bridge that was started back in the summer of 2018. "Dear Croatians, guests, guests, friends, this is a historic day for Croatia. I am overcome by feelings of joy, pride and gratitude. This is a project of a generation and pride because we are part of the generation that accomplished such a great act of uniting the Croatian territory, uniting the southern part with the rest of the country," said Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković. The far south of Croatia is now connected to the rest of the country for the first time in over 300 years.
Photo - Bozidar Vukicevic/Cropix
The opening of the Pelješac Bridge has finally united the Croatian territory into one whole, and will further strengthen the economic potential of Croatia and increase the competitiveness of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County economy. It will also have a profound effect on the tourism sector of the whole county. The far south of Croatia is now connected to the rest of the country.
Much more than a physical building
Stretching imposingly over the glinting Adriatic Sea the new Pelješac Bridge is the most important and indeed largest construction project in the Republic of Croatia for decades. However, it is much more than a physical building, it is a bridge that connects the far south of Croatia to the rest of the country. In mid-July 2018 work began on this massive project, a bridge that is 2,404 metres long and spans the sea channel from the mainland at Komarna to the Pelješac peninsula. And on the 26th of July this year it was officially opened.
This vital link between Dubrovnik and the rest of Croatia will now mean that the flow of traffic will be unhindered by borders. The knock-on effect of this ease of passage will mean that both tourists and locals can now visit the south of the country without border controls and therefore save precious time.
And the bridge will undoubtedly become an attraction in its own right. Observation points are already in place and the view over the glorious Mediterranean nature and the turquoise Adriatic with the elegant bridge spanning the channel looks impressive.
Photo - Ante Cizmic/Cropix
Why was it needed?
So why is the bridge needed? It’s a historic question. This small strip of land was given by the Republic of Dubrovnik to the Ottoman Empire to act as a buffer zone between the Republic and Venice. Centuries later this strip of the coast became part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Meaning that the south of Croatia was physically cut off from the rest of the country and people traveling south through Croatia had to cross a few miles of Bosnian-Herzegovinian territory and two EU external borders. With the completion of the new Pelješac Bridge the country is once again connected.
Benefits already visible
And the benefits for tourism have been seen already. A big jump in the number of tourists has been seen in parts of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, since the opening of the new Pelješac Bridge. The number of tourists on the island of Korčula has also increased drastically as it is now considerably easier to reach the island by car. “The number of guests has increased significantly on the entire island. The fact that the journey has been shortened and made easier has resulted in more tourists coming, there is a lot of pressure on the ferries from Orebić to Korcula, new lines have been introduced and larger ferries have been brought in,” said Miljana Borojević, the director of the Korčula Tourist Board.