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With citizen pressure, safe transportation to Knezino

The residents of the Kicevo village of Knezino can safely use the local road to Kicevo, for now. The construction company “Granit”, under the pressure of the Municipality of Kicevo, urgently intervened and widened the road in the most critical points where a landslide destroyed more than half of this local section of the road following last month’s floods. This intervention follows an article that was made by a citizen journalist, also a collaborator of CIVIL, who located the problem and reflected the reactions of the local residents.

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“Immediately after the text was published, concrete steps were made on the ground. The road was widened in two places and covered with pads, thereby reducing the risk for 50 residents of the village of Knezino to be cut off from civilization. The landslide still remains though. It is a problem for which the municipality and the state have to find a solution, and one which will not be prolonged endlessly”, informed the citizen journalist for CIVIL.

CIVIL Media demanded a response from the Municipality of Kicevo this time as well, on when this problem would finally be resolved. From the Municipality they confirmed that the Ministry of Transportation and Communication has urgently intervened following the citizen reaction and the article in CIVIL Media.

“This is a problem which the people of the village of Knzeino and all of us as a municipality have been facing with the construction of the Kicevo-Ohrid highway. It is the first time the landslide has appeared, resulting from the construction activities on the highway. In these past two years we have requested assistance for its rehabilitation, but no concrete measures have been undertaken. The response was that experts from the faculty of Civil Engineering would develop a permanent solution. But in the meanwhile, and especially after the heavy rains, the situation has become alarming. With your media exposure and the pressure of the Municipality of Kicevo, we have all arrived to a temporary solution. However, the basic problem is not solved”, says Ramiz Redzepi, commander of the Kicevo Headquarters for intervention in crisis situations.

The Director of the Public Enterprise for State Roads, Aleksandar Stojanov, made it very clear last week that there would be no works on the ground as long as there is no professional and technical solution that would mean opening a new route or rehabilitation of the existing one.

Anyhow, the obligation remains for the Public Enterprise for State Roads and the Ministry to permanently rehabilitate the landslide as soon as possible.

The other side of the problem opens up the issue regarding current professionalism in the construction of the Kicevo-Ohrid highway, since the landslide is actually a side effect of the construction of this highway section, which costs around 370 million euros and is one of the capital infrastructure projects of this government.

Costs for rehabilitation of the landslide or for construction of a new route as a transportation “bypass” will be a new burden for the state budget. Therefore, who will bear the responsibility?