Croatia on Thursday completed a sea bridge connecting its coastline over the Adriatic Sea, linking two swaths of coast divided by a small stretch of Bosnia and Herzgovina's territory.
After the final segment of the span was installed, a midnight opening ceremony was held on the bridge.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the ceremony that the bridge would function as "unification" rather than "separation."
"The bridge should bring the same feelings both in us and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today is a big day for the people of Croatia," said Plenkovic.
The 55-meter-high (180 feet) and 2.4-kilometer-long (1.5 miles) bridge between the villages of Komarna and Brijesta is expected to be opened to vehicle traffic in June 2022.
The Peljesac Bridge was built off the coast of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Neum, the only city in Bosnia with a coast and the officials claimed that the bridge violates the state's sovereign access to open seas in the Adriatic.
It was funded by the European Union and was built by the Chinese consortium China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
CRBC in 2018 won an international bid to construct the bridge. The €420 million ($500 million) construction is 85% financed by the EU and is a rare Chinese project in Europe that went through a regular bidding process.
*Written by Talha Ozturk in Belgrade