Even as it famously lags in infrastructure construction and has to be prodded into opening highways which it inherited as nearly finished, Zaev’s Government plans to build three new pay tool stations.
The Government announced it will spend 15.3 million EUR, on loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, not to improve infrastructure, but to ensure motorists pay the tolls.
Two toll stations will be built on the newly opened Skopje – Stip highway. Built by a Chinese investors as part of the large infrastructure push initiated by Nikola Gruevski, the highway was considered 80 percent finished when Zaev took over two years ago, but was only opened last week after lengthy delays by the new Government. This means that commuters between Skopje and Stip will have to pay a total of three tolls for the roughly 50 kilometers trip.
The case of the third planned toll station is even more curious – it will be built on the Kicevo – Ohrid highway, the second of the two large “Chinese highways”, which is nowhere near finished. Zaev’s Government moved quickly to stop construction, complaining that the Chinese Sinohydro company made serious errors in projecting the road. Worked has since been progressing at glacial pace.
The EBRD loan will also be used to modernize existing toll stations across the country.