Silence from the City of Skopje and from ESM: Nothing is being done either on the Belasica bridge or under it, and no one is saying why

Belasica bridge/free press/photo Slobodan Djuric

Autumn, winter, a whole heating season has passed, and the new pipes are still lying by the bridge, while ESM, from where they repeatedly claimed that it was a complex activity, now does not answer what the problem is and why the hot water pipes have not been installed yet.

What is happening with the "Belasica" bridge, why it is still not fully open to traffic and why even after eight months after the fire hot water pipes were removed from it, the new ones are not being installed, are questions about which the people of Skopje would like to receive an explanation, especially those that the road leads them every day right across this bridge.

The City of Skopje and the ESM have been silent for months about the problem that nothing is being done there, so the citizens are rightfully worried.

Every day on the bridge, in the two lanes on which it is driven, there is an unprecedented crowd in the traffic "peak hours", the bridge is loaded to the maximum. Nowhere will they be told why the traffic was not fully released. Wasn't it for worker safety? And there are no workers. Why is nothing being done and the pipes are not being installed? And is the bridge really safe? There must be some problem, but if there is, they must not play with the safety of the citizens. Either let them close it or let them go if everything is fine - Zoran P reacted. in the editorial office of "Sloboden Pechat".

Calvary with "Belasica" has been going on since May last year when the bridge was set on fire. Then for months the building was closed to traffic, analyzes were made as to whether the fire affected its stability, whether it caused serious damage. Then, at the beginning of September, the bridge was partially opened to traffic. Mayor Danela Arsovska's explanation was that there will be two lanes, and the two central ones will be open to traffic after the ESM has finished installing the new pipes. As he said, this was done for the safety of the workers working under the bridge.

Belasica bridge/free press/photo Slobodan Djuric

Then, and now, it remained unclear how the bridge could be safe to drive on two of its lanes, and not safe for the workers working under it. As for what the authorities are afraid of, we have not received an answer so far, but the bridge, even after almost a year since the fire, is still partially in use.

Meanwhile, teams from ESM dismantled the burnt pipes and announced that they will install new ones. Autumn, winter, an entire heating season have passed, and the new pipes are still lying next to the bridge, while the company always answered the same thing - that it is a complex activity.

During the past period, ESM Distribution has been actively working on the rehabilitation of the pipeline near the Belasica bridge. The damaged pipes were successfully removed and new ones brought in. The installation of new pipes is a complex activity and requires serious commitment and work, and every effort is made to complete the rehabilitation in the shortest possible time. While the activities for the installation of the new pipes are ongoing, the alternative line of the railway bridge is being used, which has the capacity to carry out continuous delivery of heat energy to consumers - ESM replied in January.

The "cosmetic" rehabilitation of "Belasica" has become a problem - neither the bridge is being repaired nor the pipes are being installed

Now there is no explanation from there why the hot water pipes have not been installed yet and if there is some problem because of which nothing is being done for months. They chose to remain silent in front of the citizens.

And the mayor Arsovska has been claiming for months that the bridge is safe. But although it was partially put into traffic in September, it was only at the end of December that the City of Skopje decided to test its endurance with a load of over 200 tons.

 The analysis determined that the bridge is in excellent condition and is reliable and safe for traffic and the movement of citizens. In addition, the first stage of test loading was carried out, and the installation of the thermal energy pipeline is currently awaiting completion, after which the bridge will be put into full use - claimed the City after the testing.

ESM has not yet started the rehabilitation of the "Belasica" bridge, it was a complex activity

In the middle of April, there is no change in the situation, except that we unofficially learn that soon the bridge will be loaded again with six trucks, as in December.

The City neither confirms nor denies this. From there, they do not answer the questions why loading is being carried out again when after the first one, as they boasted, it was determined that the bridge is not only safe but is in "excellent condition". They are also silent on whether it is planned to ever (and when) the bridge be fully open to traffic.

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