A roll call of global contractors from China, Europe, the US and elsewhere are competing to build Croatia’s 2.4km Peljesac Bridge.
The long-planned structure will allow drivers to avoid a detour into Bosnia by connecting an isolated Croatian peninsula with the mainland.
Among the companies that entered the first round of bidding are a consortium of Bechtel and Turkish contractor Enka. Italian engineer Astaldi has teamed up with Ictas, also of Turkey, a pairing that has already built a bridge over the Bosphorus.
Other European firms in the running include Bouygues and Eiffage from France, Strabag from Austria, Aktor from Greece, ObrascÃ³n Huarte Lain from Spain and Cimolai from Italy.
There are also bids from Daewoo in Korea, and two Chinese consortiums, one led by China Road and Bridge Corporation and the other by the Sichuan Bridges Corporation. Â
Only one Croatian company, Viadukt, is involved, as part of the Bouygues team.
The first round of the bidding process, which required companies to prove their technical ability to carry out the contract, will be complete around the end of January, after which bidders will have to name a price.
The bridge has had a long and troubled history. It was first proposed in 1997, and tenders were prepared in 2007, from which Viadukt, Strabag and Cimola are the only survivors in the present round.
Construction stalled when the Croatian government struggled to find enough money to fund the work.
The bridge will use a cable-stayed design and will carry four lanes of traffic. If constructed, this span would be the second largest in Europe.
Croatia is hoping to gain EU funding to help with the construction this time.
Image: A rendering of the bridge (peljesacbridge.com)