The bridge on the River Drava at Petrijevci, northwest of Osijek, is to be completed next year and the project serves as an example of connecting Croatia with the rest of the European Union and cross-border cooperation, it was said during a visit by a delegation of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee to Petrijevci on Wednesday.

The delegation is visiting Croatia at the invitation of Croatian member of the European Parliament Davor Skrlec and is touring major infrastructure projects.

Skrlec said that the bridge was expected to contribute to the further development of tourism and an increase in tourist arrivals.

Given that the European Parliament approves the EU budget, Skrlec believes that its members have influence as to which projects will be given priority and their visibility in Brussels but notes that their implementation depends primarily on member-states.

The chief engineer of the HAC motorway operator, Robert Spanovic, said that the bridge at Petrijevci, with 2,485 metres in length, was the longest suspension bridge in the country. Its construction started in July 2011, he said, adding that the construction work was nearing completion and that the bridge would be finished in the spring of 2016.

European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee chair Michael Cramer said that Committee members paid four visits of this kind every year and that they had chosen Croatia because it was the last country to access the EU. He said that the bridge on the Drava was important for cooperation between Croatia and Hungary because without it, the Vc pan-European transport corridor could not be finalised.

Cramer said that even though road transport was important, even more important was railway transport as the most acceptable mode of transport in terms of environmental protection. He added that he hoped Croatia would do a lot to develop its railway sector in the future.

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