What is happening with the "Vlajko" crossing? The citizens claim that it is closed to pedestrians, the mayors say - only at night to protect it from vandals
Residents of Vlae react that the pedestrian bridge "Vlajko", which according to them is one of the biggest failed investments in Skopje, built for five years, equipped with an elevator and escalator and with shops that have never been issued, is now closed to pedestrians. According to them, the overpass did not serve the purpose for which it was built anyway, and even before it was closed it was horrible to walk through because of the dirt and the stench of excrement.
The Municipality of Karpoš does not answer why the bridge is in such a state and whether anyone cares about its maintenance, but they claim that it is closed to traffic only at night.
The information that the "Vlajko" overpass is closed is not correct. The crossing opens in the morning from 6.30 am until 20.30 pm in the evening. Its primary purpose is the safe crossing of the street by students from the school "Dimo Hadji Dimov. The second shift at the school ends at 18.05. If it is constantly open at night, the crossing gathers people who use alcohol, narcotic drugs, perform physiological needs, break glass and other deviant phenomena. For those reasons, the crossing is closed in the evening hours - Karposh explains.
The "Vlajko" crossing, which the citizens call an "unnecessary ugliness", was put into use in 2006 after four years of construction. Since then, it seems that he is an eternal "headache" for the municipal authorities. The construction cost Karposh 900 thousand euros, in 2010 elevators were installed on the crossing, which together with the installation was a donation from USAID, and escalators with the hope that the crossing will revive. However, that did not happen and "Vlajko", although 16 shops were built on it, stood empty for a long time.
The idea of building "Vlajko", as it was once explained by the Municipality, arose from the long-term requests of the residents of the Vlae neighborhood, to build a passage through which students would safely cross to get to school or return from school. At first, it was planned to build an underground passage, but its implementation was impossible, because in the middle of the boulevard Partizanski oddaje passes the main pipeline through which Skopje is supplied with water from Rasce. So the only solution was to build an overpass, which cost a lot of money and never worked as expected.
The municipality of Karposh tried several times to sell the business premises built on the bridge, but it failed, because there were no title deeds for them. The situation did not change even after the problem with the title deeds was resolved. Mayor Stevco Jakimovski even announced that there is a company interested in buying the entire overpass, but that didn't happen either. A youth club was opened in part of the business facilities, and in 2018, by decision of the Council, two business premises at the crossing were given to the Association of Pensioners from Karposh for free use.
What will happen in the future with the overpass is completely uncertain. But it is an expensive investment, it has already been built and should not be allowed to fail without reviving it. In the meantime, efforts can be made to at least keep it clean, for those few who use it for safe passage through Partizanska.