Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski and his powerful deputy Artan Grubi announced a new move – to try to cancel the contract to build the Kicevo – Ohrid highway, with the Chinese Sinohydro company.

The long delayed 40 kilometer highway that is a key in the country’s south-west was started in 2013 and was supposed to be finished in 2018. But immediately after grabbing power in 2017, the SDSM party stopped both this project and Sinohydro’s work on the Skopje – Stip highway, citing alleged errors in the laying out of the track. The Skopje – Stip highway was nearly finished, and after protests of the citizens of Stip, it was put in use a year later. But the half finished Kicevo – Ohrid highway is inoperable, and the abandoned work sites actually make travelling on the old road even more difficult than before.

Grubi is the key contact person in the scandalous Bechtel highway deal, that is supposed to cover a highway from Gostivar to Kicevo and from Struga to the Albanian border – completing a link between Skopje, Ohrid and the border. Grubi is also suspected of lining the pockets of his DUI party from the deal, with the choice of subcontractors, so today’s announcement that the Government plans to expand its infrastructure plans toward this section caused a lot of interest.

This project was not finished for 10 years, from a number of reasons that are tied to the planning phase. You know that from the start this highway was subject to a lot of controversies that I would not go into. I think we need to think in the direction of breaking up this contract and looking for a company that would build it in a more quality manner, instead of just investing money without a single meter of highway being in use, Kovacevski said.