The Danube River represents a physical border between Hungary and Slovakia, whose border stretches for 677 km, with only 33 crossing points along it. These bottlenecks in network infrastructure have to some extent hindered cooperation between the countries and impacted on cross-border citizens daily lives. Enhancing the transport connections between these regions will facilitate and encourage collaboration among economic actors in these regions as well as enable the flourishing of interpersonal and cultural relations. In the 1970s a small ferry served industrial companies on the Hungarian side and offered transport for Slovakian commuters. The ferry stopped in 1982 but citizens asked for a renewed connection. The Ferry in Neszmély-Radvaň project aims at increasing the density of crossing points through the establishment of a cross-border ferry connection between Neszmély (Hungary) and Radvaň nad Dunajom (Slovakia). The objective is to increase the mobility of these regions’ populations through this new transportation infrastructure. A holistic approach to mobility is being taken into account and the project therefore includes the construction of all necessary facilities, including road connections and parking lots, to ensure that the service is accessible on both the Hungarian and Slovakian sides.
The project partnership is composed of three partners. The lead beneficiary is Nemzeti Infrastruktúra Fejlesztő Zrt., which is the largest public investment construction company in Hungary. The other two partners are Magyar Közút Nonprofit Zrt, a Hungarian state-owned company that constructs and maintains roads, while the investment on the Slovak side is carried out by Ister-Granum EGTC, whose role is key in implementing such an investment and in facilitating the compliance with public procurement procedures and the purchasing of lands, obtaining licences and administering assets.
The project covers the cross-border area between the two cities of Neszmély and Radvaň nad Dunajom, located between Hungary and Slovakia and crossed by the Danube.
This project was funded by the Interreg Programme Hungary-Slovakia 2014-2020, under priority axis 2 “enhancing mobility”. The total budget accounted for €5,366,124with a total EU funding contribution of €4,561,206. The original implementation period was between November 2018 and October 2021. However, the project has been granted an extension and activities will continue until the end of October 2022, following additional funding as well.
The ferry which is currently under construction has a load capacity of 25 tonnes, thus it will be able to carry 8 cars and 40 passengers or 80 passengers without cars. The total weight of vehicles travelling on the ferry must not exceed 3.5 tonnes. Negotiations about the operations of the ferry and related facilities are in process too. The project’s direct results concern the improvement of transportations infrastructures and accessibility options, including roads, parking lots, ferry ramps and ferry buildings. The development of the cross-border infrastructure has also enhanced the likeliness of interpersonal relations between Hungarians and Slovakians and, consequently, the multicultural dimension of the region, enhancing the social and economic integration of the populations living in these neighbouring regions, which are currently isolated from each other, to create encourage multiculturalism and support growth and value creation.From a labour market point of view, the increased mobility options are expected to generate new employment opportunities for the residents as well.