Chinese Construction Company Shandong Hi-Speed started the Construction of an Expressway in Western Serbia on Wednesday at a Groundbreaking Ceremony attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The Ceremony was held near the town of Lajkovac, the starting point of the 18.3-km Lajkovac-Iverak Road, which will lead towards the city of Valjevo, some 90 km Southwest of the Capital City of Belgrade.

The Expressway will in future connect the upcoming Belgrade-South Adriatic highway with parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the West and the Corridor 10 to the east, putting Valjevo in the focus of Serbia’s Development Plans.

Vucic said that the road worth 158 million euros (177 million U.S. dollars) will be completed in 2022.

“This is very important for us, a big change. It means that the travel between Belgrade and Valjevo will take only one hour or less, which will attract investors to Valjevo, and help employ more people,” said the President.

Zhang Jianchao, general manager of Shandong Hi-Speed Group Serbian Branch, said the project will bring great benefits to the local people. “Once the project is finished, the people of Valjevo will be able to reach the highway in just around 10 minutes, while the travelling benefits will contribute to the growth of the employment rate, which will boost the economy of Valjevo, Lajkovac and other neighbouring places. It will be another proof of the Chinese-Serbian friendship.”

Chen Bo, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia, said Chinese Companies are ready to participate more in the development of the Serbian infrastructure, under the umbrella of the Belt & Road Initiative.

“I am sure that the Chinese companies are prepared to contribute to the further infrastructural development of Serbia with their knowledge, technology, experience and capability.

With joint efforts we can achieve even bigger results in infrastructural cooperation,” said the Ambassador.