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Rreshen Kalimash Motorway

Rreshen Kalimash Motorway 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. The designers of Sections 1 and 3 are Scetauroute (France) and Italconsult (Italy) was of the Section 2.  The Section 1 is an 18 km long stretch from Rrëshen to Reps, section 2 is 27 km long and travels from Reps to Thirra, 15 km long the section 3 connects Thirra and Kolshi.  The construction included a 5.5 kilometres long double bore tunnel at Mount Runes, at an altitude of 1,858 m.

In addition to the many economic and social benefits, the motorway made transportation duration between Tirana and Kosovo border reduce from 8 hours to 3 hours.

Project Description

Rreshen Kalimash Motorway

  • Engineering
  • Procurement
  • Construction

Project Features

Scope of Work
Engineering, Procurement, Construction
Bechtel-ENKA General Partnership (BEGP)
General Roads Directorate of the Government of Albania – GRD
Key Quantities
Total Km 61 km
Total Interchange 3 ea
Total Tunnel Length 11,000 m
Total Underpass 3 ea
Total Overpass 4 ea
Total Bridge Length 4,420 m
Total Haul Road 92 km
Total Excavation 34 Million m³
Total Fill 13 Million m³
Total Concrete 501,000 m³
Total Pile 1,389 m
Total Drainage Pipe 16,000 m
Total Subbase&CTB 1,595,000 tons
Total Asphalt 455,000 tons
Project Duration
Start Date 01.10.2006
Finish Date 01.10.2010
Duration 32 Months


Rreshen – Kalimash, Albania
  • The most challenging part of the whole corridor was the segment between Rrëshen and Kalimash, which is around 61 km long. Before the motorway, transportation had been provided by poor old mountain road with travel time of eight hours. The Rrëshen – Kalimash Motorway’s main purpose was to serve as a faster and safer route through the mountainous region.
  • Difficult terrain conditions and harsh climate conditions were two big challenges. Bridges, viaducts and tunnels were designed and constructed to cross the difficult terrain. Due to the 800 m 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 km service road was constructed. This service road was closed for 3 months a year due to the harsh weather conditions. The total 92 km of service road was constructed for the project.
  • In addition to difficult terrain and harsh climate conditions, geological conditions were not stable and continuous throughout the tunnel and motorway alignment. It enforced engineers to use more than one method during construction.
  • Despite the difficult conditions, the project was completed successfully and the travel time was reduced from eight hours to three, as the new road is 45 km shorter than the former two-lane highway. In addition to the great amount of travel time saved, the new route would serve to stimulate the economy in Albania’s north-eastern region.

The motorway was designed as dual carriageways of 2×3.75 meters, supplemented with 2-meter emergency shoulder lanes. The major work items comprised of 34 million m3 of excavation, 13 million m3 of earth filling, 0.5 million m3 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 was the part of the contractual work. The construction of a 5.5 kilometres long double bore tunnel at Mount Runes, at an altitude of 1,858 meters was also included.

  • The largest public contract ever signed in Albania.


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