Bridge between Romania’s historical regions of Banat and Crişana, finished after 117 years

Local and county officials gathered earlier this week in the Western Romanian town of Pecica on a windy day to open a bridge first planned almost 120 years ago.
In the middle of the 19th century, Pecica was a growing agricultural town, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Because the neighboring communes from the historical region of Banat, which represented a potential market, are on the other side of the Mureş River, local officials asked permission from the Court of Vienna to build a bridge.
Local retired teacher Ioan Moldovan, author of the book “Pecica and the Mureş” says that after some time the plan was accepted and the metal pieces for the bridge started to arrive in town.
Everybody was happy, accept the land owners, who realized the bridge would ease the way of the grains from all over the region to the local market and trigger lower prices, thus affecting their profits.
They started lobbying in Vienna and eventually the bridge was donated to the town of Lipova, situated 56 km up on the same river, where it was opened in 1896.
Now, 117 years later the people of Pecica finally got what they wanted. The bridge had cost EUR 6.5 million, via a loan to the County Council, and was built in almost two years.
This is the largest investment funded by the County Council and the first bridge in the last 100 years to be built on the Mureş River, from local sources, said Nicolae Ioţcu, the president of the County Council.
Pecica Mayor Petru Antal has expressed hope that people from the poorer localities on the other side of the bridge could now find a job in town or in the industrial parks of the county capital city of Arad.
So far, the almost 50,000 residents in the area had to make an almost 40-kilometer detour to get on the other side of the river, or use the old raft when water level permitted, then drive for almost 10 kilometers on a forest road.
The new bridge is made of steel beams and concrete, is 616 meters long and can be passed in half a minute.
The road on the left side of the river is almost ready and in the spring construction of a road linking the bridge directly to the DN7 national road will begin, at only 35 kilometers from the Romanian-Hungarian border crossing point of Nădlac.