The European Union has extended €45m grant to Macedonia to finance the construction of a 28.2km dual-lane motorway section between Demir Kapija and Smokvica.

It involves work on embankments, two double-tube tunnels at least 1km in length, six bridges, two interchanges, five overpasses and seven underpasses.

Zoran Stavreski, Macedonia vice prime minisiter, told "These funds have entirely completed the financial plan for construction of a modern motorway section between Demir Kapija and Smokvica. It contributes to completing Corridor X – the main transport network passing through Macedonia, linking us with Europe to the north and with the Thessaloniki port in the south."

"[Projects like this will be] beneficial for the citizens and also contribute to Macedonia’s EU integration".

The highway includes two intersections, including one at Miravci (at 21km) and one at Smokvica, (at 27km).

The intersections will allow easy access to the motorway for the local residents, improving traffic conditions.

The EU’s Jean-Marie Seyler stated that the construction of a motorway section on Corridor X was crucial for Macedonia, its neighbours and the European Union.

So far, 15 companies have offered bids for the motorway section and a construction company will be chosen by mid-2012; the project is expected to be complete in four years.

The European Commission has given the loan through the IPA Instrument for Regional Development.

The project requires an investment of €271m, of which €130m will be provided by the European Investment Bank, €45m will come from IPA grant of the European Union and €6m will come from the budget of the Republic of Macedonia.