At 11 PM on Wednesday, July 28, the final segment of Pelješac Bridge was connected.
Pelješac Bridge fast facts
Work on the 2440-metre-long Pelješac Bridge was completed ahead of schedule. The 165th segment - the final one - was installed last night after three years of total construction work.
This doesn't mean the bridge is open to the public just yet - some additional construction has to be carried out first. This includes finalising access roads, waterproofing, welding segments, adding pavement, and so on.
Out of a total cost of €550 million, the EU is providing €357 million. In charge of construction is the China Road and Bridge Corporation.
The bridge is 23.6 metres wide, and the height from the bottom of the seabed to the uppermost part of the bridge measures 220 metres.
Upon the completion of the final segment last night, a celebration ceremony was held onsite. It included colourful fireworks and traditional klapa music.
Why so much celebration for a bridge, you might be wondering?
Because the building of the Pelješac Bridge is a historic moment. Namely, the bridge will officially secure locals and tourists alike a direct route across the entire Croatian mainland.
What does this mean for travellers?
The Pelješac Bridge will connect southernmost Croatia with the rest of the mainland by road. It will also provide easier access for island-goers, minimising the number of ferries required to get to say, the beloved and beautiful island of Korčula.
Near the Pelješac Peninsula, the Croatian mainland is cut off by a 19-kilometre stretch of coast belonging to neighbour Bosnia and Hercegovina. This meant that, before the new bridge, travellers driving to, for example, Dubrovnik and/or some of the southernmost islands had to cross the border. As always, crossing country borders can be a hassle, often including hours-long waiting times and calling for additional documentation. It was either that or taking multiple ferries - which at the height of the tourist season, can require quite a long wait itself.
Soon, however, when crossing across the Pelješac Peninsula via bridge, wayfarers won't have to pull their passports out or get stuck in hours-long queues. Plus, getting to islands like the marvellous Mljet from the Croatian mainland will require just one ferry (depending on your place of departure).
The novel bridge also offers the perfect opportunity to embark on a life-changing road trip down Croatia's coast, with as few worries as possible. All you have to do is be a tiny bit more patient and wait it out until 2022, when the bridge will be open to the public!