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Enhancing transportation infrastructure in Pljevlja: Exploring rail corridor expansion

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The development concept of transportation infrastructure in Pljevlja includes the construction of a railway corridor, namely Pljevlja – Bijelo Polje or Pljevlja – Prijepolje. Connecting the city to the Belgrade – Bar railway would have significant socio-economic importance for the accelerated development of this area and would enhance the utilization of its significant natural resources while reducing the transportation costs of goods. This would further create the possibility for Pljevlja to become a transportation hub for the entire northern region of Montenegro.

This is stated in the Draft Spatial and Urban Plan of Pljevlja, which will be open for public discussion until April 10th.

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As mentioned in the document, the Spatial Plan until 2020 for the municipality of Pljevlja included plans for a secondary railway corridor Pljevlja – Bijelo Polje (Ravna Rijeka). The baseline study for the development of the new Spatial Plan of Montenegro also recognized a connection to the Belgrade – Bar railway in Prijepolje, thus determining that the secondary network would consist of the Pljevlja-Prijepolje railway (an alternative to Pljevlja – Ravna Rijeka).

The majority of freight flows in the Pljevlja area are directed towards the main road from Ranče (border with Serbia) – Trlica – Pljevlja – Đurđevića Tara. Considering the significant economic potential and planned development of the municipality, connecting Pljevlja to the Belgrade – Bar railway is a logical solution. This would have significant socio-economic importance for the accelerated development of this area, leading to better utilization of significant natural resources and reducing transportation costs for freight flows, thus making Pljevlja a transportation hub for the entire northern region of Montenegro – the document states.

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Therefore, the Center for Research and Design, Branch Office for Traffic Studies and Research from Belgrade, conducted a Socio-Economic Justification Study for the construction of a railway connection for Pljevlja to the Belgrade – Bar railway. This study analyzed various solutions for the Pljevlja – Prijepolje and Pljevlja – Priboj railway lines and gave preference to the construction of the Pljevlja – Prijepolje railway from both economic and technical perspectives.

Although the railway development strategy from 2017 to 2027 does not mention the Pljevlja – Prijepolje railway line, this planning document provides the opportunity to connect Pljevlja to the Belgrade – Bar railway at Prijepolje. This potential development was also recognized by the baseline study for the development of the new Spatial Plan of Montenegro, and it will serve as the basis for additional analysis and the development of planning documentation to evaluate the justification and adopt a model for integrating the Pljevlja basin into the railway network until the development of a new railway strategy after 2027 – the document states.

According to the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020, the corridor for the railway line Pljevlja – Ravna Rijeka (Bijelo Polje) has been defined. A preliminary analysis of the corridor was conducted by the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Podgorica, Institute of Civil Engineering, in 2006. This analysis compared two variants of the railway line: Pljevlja – Ravna Rijeka and Pljevlja – Mojkovac.

In the meantime, a Preliminary Feasibility Study and Conceptual Design for the V 1.7 variant of the railway line Pljevlja – Bijelo Polje (Ravna Rijeka) – Berane – border with Kosovo, was conducted in September 2013.

The mentioned Feasibility Study considered seven variants of the Conceptual Design for the Pljevlja – Bijelo Polje railway section. Variant V 1.7, which is approximately 56 km long and passes through Pljevlja (Otilovići) – Dubočica – Kalipolje – Kovren – Mahala – Stolovača – Bijelo Polje, was adopted.

This planning document retains both corridors of the secondary railway network, namely Pljevlja – Bijelo Polje (Ravna Rijeka) and Pljevlja – Prijepolje.

Before making a final decision on how and where Pljevlja will be connected to the Belgrade – Bar railway, it is necessary to prepare detailed planning and project documentation, including an analysis of various solutions, not only from the perspective of technical characteristics and economic benefits, but also based on a comprehensive overview of existing and planned purposes, protected areas, particularly sensitive areas, coal and other raw material exploitation zones, water sources, infrastructure impacts, and so forth – the Draft Spatial Plan states.

Development of the railway route position, through the preparation of technical documentation, should be a priority in the future period as it is one of the essential prerequisites for investment, it is added.

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