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Sitina tunnel opens

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška, government ministers and representatives of the local administration ceremoniously opened the Sitina tunnel on June 23.

PM Fico said during the ceremony that the construction was so costly that the tunnel could be called one of the most expensive tunnels in the world, the SITA newswire wrote.

"We are building expensively and slowly and if we take the length of the tunnel into consideration then we have in Bratislava one of the most expensive tunnels in the world," said Fico.

Original estimates put the costs at Sk3.5 billion (€103.9 million) but the final cost actually only came to Sk1 billion (€29.7 million). The finishing touches could cost an additional Sk500 million (€14.8 million).

The first driver to officially pass through the Sitina tunnel was Scottish F1 driver David Coulthard. His morning run on June 23 took around 10 minutes, beginning at the northern end of the tunnel.

The new tunnel, which is part of the D2 motorway, is the first two-tube tunnel in Slovakia. It is 1.44 kilometres long and it is estimated that around 20,000 vehicles will drive through the tunnel per day.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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