Montenegro is set to rehabilitate and upgrade 180km of road along the five main routes in the country.

These projects will be financed through a €40m loan to be provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) after signing the second tranche. The first tranche was signed in November 2018.

EIB vice-president Dario Scannapieco said: “By rehabilitating one-quarter of the entire national road network in Montenegro, we aim to support regional connectivity and reinforce integration between the Western Balkan countries and the EU.

“Access to safe and modern roads should not be a privilege, but a necessity for all in our efforts towards increased competitiveness, sustainability and faster EU accession.”

In addition to the EIB loan, Montenegro will receive a €1.5m technical assistance grant awarded under the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI).

The ERI Loan is said to be the first that has been awarded to a project in the Western Balkan region.

For the road upgrade project, EIB awarded a total of €80m to enhance road safety in Montenegro and facilitate faster economic recovery and regional trade.

The project is expected to create approximately 4,100 temporary jobs in Montenegro.

EIB’s loan will be used to upgrade roads between Tivat and the port of Bar, between the northern city of Danilovgrad and the capital Podgorica, and between Lepenac and the Spiljani border crossing.

Certain road sections between Ribarevina and Dobrakovo, Pljevlja and Mihajlovica, located at the Serbian border, will also be reconstructed.

Once completed, the upgrade is expected to further improve safety for commuters travelling along the reconstructed sections, while minimising travel time.

EU Ambassador and head of EU Delegation to Montenegro Aivo Orav said: “This is especially important for Montenegro as, according to a recently completed EU-funded road safety assessment, 55% of the roads in Montenegro feature as ‘the least safe performing roads’. In addition to avoiding human tragedies, improving road safety has high economic returns.”

Last month, European Investment Bank (EIB) entered into a collaboration with Spanish electric utility company Endesa to support the growth of electric mobility in the country.