Romania will build a new bridge to Ukraine to cope with an influx of refugees and Ukraine gaining EU candidate status.
The Maramureş County Council last week signed a deal to construct a bridge over the Tisza River which forms the border with Ukraine.
The bridge will replace a previous wooden construction in the town of Sighetu Marmație which local leaders say will have a major effect in terms of opening the county to cross-border trade and traffic.
County Council President, Ionel Bogdan called it “a historic moment’ for the region, the biggest infrastructure in the county which lies in northwest Romania since the fall of communism in 1989.
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, between 5 and 8 million people have fled to European Union countries.
UN estimates put total legal border crossings with Romania at around 790,000 people.
But the sudden influx of refugees has exposed creaky infrastructure, which has not been developed as Romania and Ukraine have low trading levels.
But the war with Russia has changed the situation, displacing millions and Ukraine and Moldova gaining European Union status.
The new bridge will have two separate lanes and will be 260 metres long and will cost around 147 million lei, or around 30 million euros and aims to be functional in 24 months.
Ionel Bogdan said: „This investment objective is of strategic importance for Maramureş, because it will contribute to the economic development of our county, to the intensification of international trade and to the increase of the quality of life of the people in the county.”
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There must be stringent planning controls in place, applied and policed, before the bridge is opened, to stop the destruction of Maramures. Development usually brings with it the utter eradication of traditions and centuries-old ways of living on the land – and in this area it would be a tragedy of Euripidean proportions. There must be ways to bring resources and opportunities to the area without losing its unique and/or rare natural and traditional assets.