The Public Company of the Republic of Srpska Roads (JP Putevi RS) is responsible for developing and maintaining high-quality road infrastructure throughout the Republic. The company is involved in maintenance and upgrading of existing roads as well as the construction of new roads other than motorways, which are handled by a separate state firm.
According to Mladen Lazendic, Director, JP Putevi RS is in charge of around 4,200 km of existing roads, some of them built up to 30 years ago and requiring significant upgrades. The company is using some €80 million in funding from the EU, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the World Bank to rehabilitate around 1,100 km of main roads in a project that began last year and is set for completion in 2011.
While the Republic of Srpska’s road network is in relatively good condition, especially given the fact that the civil war ended only 15 years ago, Mladen Lazendic says that more financial support is needed for upgrades to the republic’s road infrastructure. He says, “We have one very important road from Foca to the Montenegrin border, which is a key trade route that is very important for the Republic of Srpska and for Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole. We are now looking for a loan to support work on that road, which is currently in bad condition and impassable for heavy trucks.” He estimates the costs for this project at around €75 million.
Major construction and upgrades in the works
JP Putevi RS is also supported by government funds, although it receives less federal support than its counterpart company in Bosnia and Herzegovina because the republic has a separate structure. JP Putevi RS will receive some €100 million in statefunding for projects that will include 200 km of new roads, a new 200 m bridge, a main road from Foca to Hum in the eastern part of the republic (at a cost of around €35 million), a 2,100 m tunnel, and other projects. For road maintenance alone, the company has a budget of €30 million. Mladen Lazendic points out that the Republic of Srpska has around 700 bridges and 100 tunnels that require upgrades.
Mladen Lazendic welcomes the chance to counter some negative press that the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole have received for corruption and inefficiency. He explains, “We can prove that our company is working efficiently, since we are closely overseen by the banks and funding organisations that have provided our financing, and we make regular reports to them about our progress. Our roads are much better than they were, and we are working to European standards concerning our maintenance activities.”
JP Putevi RS is looking into partnering with the privatecontractors to achieve its goals. Mladen Lazendic explains, “We want to do even more, and will probably work with the private sector through individual contracts.” To potential international partners and investors, Mladen Lazendic concludes, “Our company is well organised and we have a staff of 64 highly-trained people, including engineers, who are committed to doing things right.”