Arbri Road opened today along an ancient trackway with a new contemporary infrastructural dimension. It is ready to temporarily offer a decent drive along a length of 48 kilometres already built and delivered, while a few kilometres of the new road have yet to complete. The newly-built road is now open to traffic and passable via the bypass around the Murriz Tunnel, where work has progressed somehow more slowly due to complex geological formations and the tunnel opening is set to complete by spring.
The new road, a century-old dream of Albanians, significantly shortens the travel distance between the north-eastern region of Diber and the capital to 47 minutes only, from a current 1 hour and 20 minute-drive time or from a 4-hour drive until lately. Meanwhile it facilitates public transportation and provides farmers with more accessibility to the market for locally grown produce. The road is spectacular for the fact that it stretches across breathtaking scenery, which was under the radar due to isolation until today.
The works have kicked off many times, but never completed, with several projects left unfinished and held back by the mismanagement mindset. Today, this road is a promise delivered by the government, which serves not only as an internal axis, but also as an important part of an economic corridor in the region.
Prime Minister Edi Rama today visited Diber, where he participated in the ceremony marking the removal of the last block in the Tunnel No 2 and the provisional opening of the Arbri road to traffic.
Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku informed that everything is being done and work is in full swing to make sure that the road’s construction completes on schedule. “This is the Tunnel No. 2 exit and the platform connecting it with the third tunnel along the road. We will symbolically remove the roadblock currently standing on the Arberi Road. The road’s total length between Tirana and Maqellare is 69 km, but the concessionary contract involves construction of 54 kilometres of the road, 48 km of which open to the traffic today. As you already saw, the part in Murrizi Pass is solved through an 8.8 km bypass. It is a temporary bypass road, because we have to go on with the remaining construction work until entire road completes. We have to inform the road users that the site opens for traffic temporarily, as work is ongoing until full completion. Under the contract, the delivery deadline is the end of April 2022, so we will make every effort to deliver everything on time,” Infrastructure and Energy Minister said, explaining that the problem lies in the geology of the Murriz tunnel which is the longest and most complex part of the entire project.
“As we have already frequently informed, the problem lies with the geological formation of the 8.8 km-long Murrizi tunnel, the longest along the entire road project. The engineers and worker teams have encountered clay and underground water layers during the excavations. However, work continues around the clock there and the problem will be solved although the works are not progressing as fast as in 5 other tunnels, or in the Skerfica tunnel, which company Gjoka constructed in record time. This is a very important day. The new road shortens the travel distance from 4 hours to only one hour, once construction of the entire road completes by April,” she explained.
Balluku highlighted the very good coordination with the State Police and mainly with the Traffic Police, to inform drivers about the specifics of the new road, calling on them to show utmost care and respect the traffic rules.
“We have established very good coordination with the Traffic Police during the time of works and last week in particular. We have been assured of their full commitment to supervise this road, where construction works are in progress. We have called on drivers to drive safely and carefully, respect the speed limit and all traffic rules while driving along the new road,” the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku said.