Network of bicycle roads and bridges to link Austria and Slovakia

A project on the Austria-Slovakia border created a network of bicycle roads and bridges, promoting clean urban transport and linking the two countries. A new bridge connects bicycle tracks on both sides of the border, and also promotes cooperation between the two countries in the fields of tourism and culture. 

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A new bridge across the Morava River links Austria and Slovakia, increasing tourism in the border regions.  © Cyclomost II A new bridge across the Morava River links Austria and Slovakia, increasing tourism in the border regions. © Cyclomost II

The project is a continuation of the Bicycle Tracks Without Borders program carried out in 2006. The main objective of the project was to plan and construct a bridge across the river March/Morava, which forms a border between the two countries. The bridge was crucial in linking the countries because previously, throughout the 70 km border, there was only one road bridge and one ferry.

The new pedestrian- and cyclist-only bridge increases mobility between Austria and Slovakia, and promotes tourism and culture for both areas through increased mobility. This project allowed a historic bridge in the area, which was destroyed in 1880 and never rebuilt, to be reconstructed.

Overcoming construction obstacles

The project had to overcome certain challenges to reach completion. It is situated in a NATURE 2000 area, which is subject to regular flooding. In addition, the bridge marks the end of the stretch of the river that is classified as an inland waterway. Therefore, execution had to be flawless in order to maintain safety and achieve success. Several distinct legal frameworks of the two countries were considered in the planning and construction phases. Despite differences in the administrative structures in Austria and Slovakia, the cooperation in planning for the bridge demonstrated successful multi-level governance, and a cohesive plan was created to build a stable bridge, which was officially opened in September 2012.

Tourism benefits and more

Since the opening of the bridge, there has been a visible, positive economic effect in seasonal tourism, which in turn has supported job creation in both countries. Because of the bridge, cross-border ventures by bike or walking are now easy and encouraged. The bridge provides momentum for further development, and also promotes environmentally friendly tourism.

The city of Bratislava, with about half a million inhabitants, is the biggest beneficiary. New businesses oriented toward cyclists have opened in the Devinska Nova Ves area of the city. In addition, the major tourism site of Schlosshof, Austria, has also reported increasing numbers of tourists coming over the bridge from Slovakia.

The bridge also serves a symbolic purpose, one of open-mindedness and peace between the regions. During the time of the Iron Curtain, border traffic, bridges and border crossings were removed. Today, almost three decades after the Iron Curtain fell, these bottlenecks are being removed and the border regions are cooperating on expansion and reconstruction. The bridge over the Morava River, linking the natural border between Austria and Slovakia, is an important symbolic and economic step for the region.

Total Investment and EU Funding

Total investment for the project “Cyclomost II” was EUR 4 930 920, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 4 191 282 under the Operational Programme “Cross Border Cooperation Programme Slovakia-Austria” for the 2007-2013 programming period, under the priority axis “Accessibility and Sustainable Development.”

Draft date