In regards to the announced project for the construction of highway sections from Corridors 8
and 10d in Macedonia, the Macedonian Association of Road Engineers wanted to give it’s  professional contribution to the realization of the project, and held a Scientific – professional meeting
debate on:
Experiences and challenges during design, construction and maintenance
on the road infrastructure

Bearing in mind the current situation with the start of the largest infrastructure project since the independence of the Republic of Macedonia until today, the Association of Road Engineers in the Republic of Macedonia (MARE) as a professional association of road construction engineers, with the aim of obtaining additional knowledge and information with this significant project, on October 2, 2023, organized a scientific-professional debate on the topic: “Experiences and challenges in the design, construction and maintenance of road infrastructure”.
The idea of the event was to discuss the roads and the upcoming project from a scientific-professional point of view, which will provide an expert review of the realization of this project from several aspects, namely the state of the legislation related to design, construction and maintenance.
In fact, this was the first debate with a scientific expert approach and analysis of the project from the engineering profession in our country, unlike the previously exclusively political discussions in the public.
The event was opened by the President of MARE Prof. Dr. Goran Mijoski who emphasized that MARE as an expert institution in the field of roads, as well as road construction engineers, must be actively involved in the current moment of planning, designing, building and maintaining roads.
Then Prof. Dr. Goran Markovski – Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, who said that at the current moment of the realization of this largest infrastructure project since the independence of Macedonia, the Faculty of Civil Engineering should be more significantly involved, and that the realization of the project will also contribute to overall development of the road infrastructure and the state. He also emphasized the decrease in the number of students at the faculty, which can be a serious problem with the lack of professional staff, taking into account that part of such a small number of students will go to work outside of Macedonia.

Mr. Kostadin Aceski – Director of PA”Makedonija Pat” – Skopje, addressed the audience and spoke about the current problems, and presented a proposal for solutions in the field of road maintenance, which will contribute to the improvement of the situation in this area.
JPDP Director Mr. Eyup Rustemi in the introduction of his presentation emphasized that: “There is no better way to perceive the situation and to find solutions than a common and broad debate of all concerned. It’s good that we are all here today, together, starting with the most important – engineers, experts, professors, but also all the rest of us who are directly involved in the process of designing and building the roads.” Director Rustemi emphasized that this expert debate comes at the right moment, during which he sincerely thanked MARE, when a major construction offensive is taking place in our country and several important projects in the road infrastructure are being worked on, such as Corridor 8 and Corridor 10 e, as well as several other large projects for the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of several sections of the road infrastructure.
At the end, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Blagoj Bochvarski, spoke about the new concept of realization of capital projects in the field of road infrastructure and the advantages it has in relation to the classical way of designing and building. Among other things, he emphasized that: “Through this better and more efficient concept, we will get to the construction of European, modern roads, which are safer and are built according to European standards.” We have no other alternative than the completion of the European corridors, we must jointly overcome the challenges and build a road infrastructure that will ensure a stronger economy and development of the country.”

After the official speeches, a fruitful discussion developed and a large number of essential technical questions were asked by the present civil engineers – “patars”, to which the officials gave answers and tried to explain the project and present it to the audience.
At this debate, for the first time, it was publicly pointed out that there is a study prepared by the Faculty of Civil Engineering, which is the basis for the contract for the construction of highways, but unfortunately its contents, conclusions and recommendations were not presented, and to this day it remains an enigma who participated in it. Given the non-transparency of the preparation of the study, as well as the fact that the entire agreement is based on it, it still be discussed.
Among the more interesting issues that developed a discussion were about the transverse profile of the future highways, the width of the traffic lanes and the speed for which they will be projected. It was pointed out that in the 21st century it is incomprehensible to design highways for a maximum speed of 80, 110 and 120 km/h, when according to our law the maximum speed is 130 km/h, and some countries have long been designing and building for 140 km/h.

An interesting question was also asked about the choice of routes for the “Tetovo – Gostivar” and “Gostivar – Bukojčani” sections, and suggestions were given to prevent possible problems.
In particular, a discussion developed after the information in the public about the construction of the highway through the Straža mountain pass, which is located at 1,212 m above sea level. Simply, this is the highest road mountain pass and also the most problematic in winter conditions, and with this level of organization and mechanization, the question is how the traffic would function during the winter maintenance period.
An additional problem would be the longitudinal slopes of the highway, as well as the speed of movement, due to the larger longitudinal slopes, there would also be a need for a lane for heavy goods (slow) vehicles. Of course, during a serious comparative analysis of the two variant solutions (without and with a tunnel), the greater development of the route, i.e. greater length and area of the highway, as well as the energy consumption for overcoming those slopes when climbing, should also be taken into account. During this comparative analysis, the financial means for winter and regular maintenance of this section during the period of exploitation must not be neglected. In fact, the more expensive route is the one that cannot function in winter conditions.
It is illogical for the future regional or main road to connect Tetovo with Prizren to plan a tunnel with a length of about 6 km, and for the highway it is an unacceptable solution. After all, a tunnel was built on the “Kicevo – Ohrid” highway, which is under construction, at the Preseka mountain pass (1,082 m above sea level), which is at a lower height than Straža. The authorities promised to review this option once again, in order to get a better solution.
After exhausting the discussions, the President of MARE closed the debate. There were more than 120 participants at the debate, from all areas of road construction – planning, design and construction. Obviously, the debate aroused great interest among the road engineers, because everyone who means something in the field of roads, starting from professors, engineers, directors, designers, etc., were present.
The general impression of the attendees was that this kind of debate was missing among the professional public, because until then all the information about this mega project was obtained from the media. The success of this scientific and expert debate indicates that road administrations in our country should, before making major decisions, respect the opinion of the expert public and much earlier initiate such debates themselves, with the aim of making correct decisions in the interest of the state and the citizens of Macedonia. .