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Rreshen Kalimash Motorway

This project is the largest public contract ever signed in Albania. Undertaken by Enka and Bechtel in September 2006 the Rrëshen -Kalimash Motorway Project is a key connection between Durres Port, Albania’s primary harbour on the Adriatic Sea, and Kosovo.

The 61 kilometres motorway crosses the mountainous northern region of Albania, linking the cities of Rrëshen  and Kalimash, and is divided into three sections. Its designers are Scetauroute (France) for Sections 1 and 3, and Italconsult (Italy), for Section 2. Section 1 is an 18 kilometres long stretch from Rrëshen to Reps, section 2 is 27 kilometres long and travels from Reps to Thirra, section 3 connects Thirra and Kolshi and is 15 kilometres long. At Mount Runes, at an altitude of 1,858 meters, the construction includes a 5.5 kilometres long double bore tunnel.

In addition to the many economic and social benefits, from the construction of this Motorway, the transportation duration between Tirana and Kosovo border is reduced from 8 hours to 3 hours.

Project Description

Rreshen Kalimash Motorway

  • Engineering
  • Procurement
  • Construction

Project Features

Scope of Work
Engineering, Procurement, Construction
BECHTEL & ENKA Joint Venture (each 50 % share)
General Roads Directorate of the Government of Albania – GRD
Key Quantities
Total Km61 km
Total Interchange3 ea
Total Tunnel Length11,000 m
Total Underpass3 ea
Total Overpass4 ea
Total Bridge Length4,420 m
Total Haul Road92 km
Total Excavation34 Million m³
Total Fill13 Million m³
Total Concrete501,000 m³
Total Pile1,389 m
Total Drainage Pipe16,000 m
Total Subbase&CTB1,595,000 tons
Total Asphalt455,000 tons
Project Duration
Start Date01.10.2006
Finish Date01.10.2010
Duration32 Months


Rreshen – Kalimash, Albania
  • The most challenging part of the whole corridor was the segment between Rrëshen and Kalimash, which is around 61 kilometres long. Before the motorway, transportation was provided by poor old mountain road and travel time was eight hours. The Rrëshen – Kalimash Motorway’s main purpose is to serve as a faster and safer route through the mountainous region
  • Difficult terrain conditions and harsh climate conditions were two big challenges. To cross this difficult terrain, bridges, viaducts and tunnels were designed and constructed. Due to the 800 meters of overburden on top of the tunnel, it was not possible to reach anywhere across the tunnel alignment except the entrance and exit locations. In order to reach portals of the tunnel, 17 kilometres of service road were constructed. This service road was closed for 3 months in the year due to the harsh weather conditions. The total service road constructed for this project is 92 kilometres
  • In addition to difficult terrain and harsh climate conditions, geological conditions were not stable and continuous throughout the tunnel and motorway alignment. This enforced engineers to use more than one method during construction
  • Despite the difficult conditions, the project was completed successfully and the travel time will be reduced from eight hours to three hours, as the new road will be 45 kilometres shorter than the current two-lane highway. In addition to the great amount of travel time saved, this new route will serve to stimulate the economy in Albania’s north-eastern region.

The Motorway is designed as dual carriageways of 2×3.75 meters, supplemented with 2-meter emergency shoulder lanes. The major work items comprise of 34 million cubic meters of excavation, 13 million cubic meters of earth filling, 0.5 million cubic meters of concrete, 1.6 million tons of subbase and cement treated base and 0.45 million tons of asphalt. The construction of bridges and viaducts at an altitude of 5 km in the challenging mountainous terrain of Albania is included in the contractual works. At Mount Runes, at an altitude of 1,858 meters, construction includes a 5.5 kilometres long double bore tunnel.

  • The largest public contract ever signed in Albania.


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