Temporary bridge across Danube

NOVI SAD, May 23, 2000 -- (Reuters) A temporary rail and road bridge across the Danube to replace one destroyed by NATO bombs last year was completed on Monday in the country's second largest city.

The 432 meter-long (470 yards) bridge in Novi Sad will restore international rail transport, halted for 14 months because of NATO's March-to-June air war to stop Belgrade's repression of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority.

All three bridges spanning the Danube in the capital of Vojvodina province were destroyed during the air war, in effect cutting it in two.

Shortly after the bombing ended, a temporary pontoon bridge for cars and other vehicles was erected.

One of the construction managers told Reuters the new bridge could be opened for traffic by the end of the week.

The bridge was financed by the country's Reconstruction Agency, founded by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

The bridge matched European standards but speeds would be limited to 30 km (19 miles) per hour because of a sharp-angled exit chicane. The weight capacity was larger than that of the bombed bridge, he added.

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