We cut the Gordian knot, former transport minister Ján Počiatek of the ruling Smer party declared in mid-June of 2014. After many years, the state relaunched a construction project of the seven-kilometre Višňové Tunnel.
The consortium, made up of two construction companies Salini Impregilo and Dúha, is now building the tunnel for more than €400 million.
Construction workers were to finish construction by the end of 2019, in five and a half years. However, due to delays, this deadline will not be met.
It is currently the longest stretch of highway under construction in Slovakia, and has been a construction site for 20 years.
Višňové Tunnel is part of the stretch between Lietavská Lúčka and Dubná Skala of the D1 Highway, linking Bratislava and Košice, which makes it one of the key stretches of the highway.
Višňové Tunnel is important. Why?
The tunnel is said to unburden the road passing under Strečno Castle, which gets congested during the rush hour.
"We will not prevent congested traffic under Strečno Castle from happening unless the unfinished tunnel as a vital D1 stretch is completed," said Martin Bakoš of the Amberg Engineering Slovakia project management company.
Moreover, rocks may fall from a steep hillside, on which the castle stands, at any moment, increasing the risk of accidents. However, once the tunnel is constructed, drivers can let out a sigh of relief.
"It will lead to lower fuel and vehicle costs, along with noise and emission reduction, saving time with less stress and road traffic accidents," said Dalibor Trebichalský of the non-governmental Institute for Transport and Economy.
Travelling time could decrease by 15 minutes.
Tunnel could have been finished earlier
More than four years ago, the third attempt at construction of Višňové Tunnel officially began. In 1998, the then-PM Vladimír Mečiar hammered in its corner stone.
10. Dec 2018 at 16:08 | Marek Poracký