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Bratislava-Banská Bystrica freeway to cost Sk24bn

ANOTHER section of the freeway between Bratislava and Banská Bystrica in central Slovakia is to be brought into operation in several weeks, but given that the overall project will cost another Sk24 billion to complete, experts are now asking whether the new Fico government's road infrastructure plans are realistic.

The new freeway section runs for 10 kilometres between Žarnovica and Rudno nad Hronom.

"Apart from this new section we still have to build four sections with a total length of 61.5 kilometres," said Marcel Jánošík, spokesman of the National Freeways Company which is overseeing the construction.

The most costly stretch, at over Sk15 billion, is expected to be the "highway of death" between Nitra and Zlaté Moravce, the scene of frequent accidents caused by heavy traffic and impatient drivers. Eight people have died on this road already this year.

With fights continuing over title to land and money yet to be secured from EU funds for the construction, a source from the Transport Ministry cited by the Pravda daily called the deadline of 2010 "very bold".

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