Residents of the village of Kralje oppose the planned route of the road Mateševo ​​- Andrijevica: They protect houses and properties from the highway

Locals point out that they do not want a road through the center of the village, even though they are supposed to receive money from the state for the expropriated property... It is a very "living" village, with a four-year school attended by more than 50 students, which is a rarity in Montenegro. ..

18072 views 108 reactions 49 comment(s)
Detail from the village, Photo: Boris Pejović
Detail from the village, Photo: Boris Pejović
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Nestled on the left side of a bay covered with dense forest, many families engaged in agriculture and rural tourism, the former home of four fighter pilots of the Yugoslav Air Force, a church, a small football stadium, a museum and an elementary school with about fifty students, all this makes up the village of Kralje. That lively town of Andrijevica is home to around 300 inhabitants, whose peaceful village life is now threatened by the construction of the second section of the Mateševo-Andrijevica highway.

Dust, pollution, demolition of houses, garages, stables and other auxiliary buildings, destruction of orchards, shortening of plots, risks to health, shutdown of villages, agriculture and tourism, unsafe investments, are just some of the reasons why the residents of Kralje are asking for the relocation of the route, which is planned through the very heart of the village. As they told "Vijesta", they are not against the highway, but they do not want the route of the road to go through the village core. They point out that the planned infrastructure project is not only a problem for their place, but that everyone on this line is at risk, including the villages of Prisoja, Slatina, Gnjili potok, Bare Kraljske...

The locals say that they are not yet sure exactly where the state project will go, but they claim that they know that the idyll of village life will also be disturbed by the fact that ten households will be left homeless because of it. Although the houses, buildings and plots of land, after the evaluations, will be paid out through expropriation, the residents do not want the road because they believe that it will extinguish one of the few villages in Montenegro that is still alive. As they clarified, the residents of this place, depending on the buildings and plots, will receive from 40 to 140 thousand euros.

Village center over which the highway runs: Kralje
Village center over which the highway runs: Kraljephoto: Boris Pejović

The planned section of the highway is 23,5 kilometers long, and will stretch from Mateševo ​​to Andrijevica. For this route, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently announced a pre-qualification tender for construction, which lasts until June 26. The completion of this road is planned at the exit from Andrijevica, at the point where the Kraštica river flows into the Lim.

Threatened on every issue

And a resident of this village Radosav Lekić, whose house is scheduled for demolition because it lies on the planned road, supports moving the route to the hills above their houses. He explained that the locals do not want to lose their roof over their heads, because they chose to stay in the countryside and in their households and create a family there. He pointed out that with the construction of the highway, they are threatened in every respect.

"This village in Andrijevica has the most children, both in the local school and in Andrijevica in the registry office. The majority of households there are young people who want to stay, engage in agriculture, tourism, and have jobs in local self-government. We stayed to live there, however, during the construction of the highway, when we were evicted, we had no space to live. When they cut half of your property and take away the auxiliary buildings, the rest is useless. The school is elementary, up to the fourth grade, there are about 55 students, and we also have those who want to return from abroad. Some have returned here to live, but with this section they are also slowed down, it is uncertain for them to buy plots. My house is currently on an unofficial route, they came and took photos, it is about the house and five auxiliary buildings and part of the property. If the route goes 10 or 15 meters from someone's house, they take away their auxiliary buildings and part of their property, so there is no good existence there, no normal living conditions. It's like that for the whole village, not just for me," Lekić said.

Awaiting appraisals for the property: Lekić
Awaiting appraisals for the property: Lekićphoto: BORIS PEJOVIC

He pointed out that the leaders of the Kralje local community have already met with the Minister of Transport Filip Radulović and director of "Monteput" Milan Ljiljanić, and that they were told that a few years ago a geological survey was done, that there was a public discussion, so the route can only go where it was planned. Lekić added that no one informed or invited the locals about the discussion. As he says, they were told that during construction the houses will be protected as much as possible, but that they still do not want a highway through the heart of the village.

He claims that they brought experts and engineers from Belgrade, who said that a road could be made from the Trešnjevik tunnel, through the Sovale region and downstream down the Kraštica river, which would not endanger households. This, as he states, is also the proposal for which he will fight. He emphasized that they have received a part of the decision on the property, which they have no right to appeal, so they are now waiting for a call for discussion, offers for those whose buildings will be demolished.

One of the houses to demolish: Kralje
One of the houses to demolish: Kraljephoto: Boris Pejović

Lekić pointed out that the locals will not agree with the prices, nor with the demolition, and he repeated that it is not about one house and village, but everyone who is on this route.

"We have unofficial prices that they set for the payment of estates and houses, there are completely low prices compared to inflation and the payments that were for the first section, we are really underestimated. A square will pay us from three to ten euros, it all depends on the plot and location. Otherwise, 25, 30 euros is a square meter in Andrijevica and its surroundings. Here, the price is not that high, but it would be if it wasn't for the highway route. When it happens like this, no one will want to offer money for a property that will listen to noise, have health problems...", said Lekić.

Kings broke the sound barrier

Proof that this is a living village can be seen in just a few minutes of being there, because the local asphalt road is extremely busy. Older and newer cars, tourists with foreign license plates, stray visitors, monstrous trucks with wide trunks, pass by almost every half minute. Most households raise pigs, chickens, cows, and some also have ponds. Meadows full of spring flowers, small estates, slopes full of green grass, plums, apples, Kralje really offers a hidden rural oasis.

The planned highway here follows a small local road, along which most of the houses are also located. In addition, a few tens of meters below the road, lies the center of this small town, which consists of the local community, village church, school, museum, soccer field and several monuments.

The most attention is certainly attracted by the monument to the pilots who have their roots in this place. The monument consists of a pillar, by which a large military jet plane stands a few meters above the ground. That Kralje has a history worthy of a museum and historical significance is also shown by the fact that one of the four pilots on this monument, lieutenant general Nikola Lekic, the first European fighter pilot to fly faster than sound. The specificity of the place is highlighted by the indoor soccer field with floodlights, which, according to the locals, once hosted the first Montenegrin night tournament in that sport. These big little things show that a part of history is really stuck in the village, so it is one of the few that has a museum. In addition to old objects, cradles, money and tools, his walls are full of awards received by local Boy Scouts, old costumes and geographical maps.

Orchards will also be demolished: Kralje
Orchards will also be demolished: Kraljephoto: Boris Pejović

He also said that Kralje will lose the tranquility they offer to the locals Slaviša Novović, who could also become homeless. He says he has no other real estate, while an appraisal for five buildings, including garages, barns, drying rooms and two-story houses, offered him 127 euros. He lives there with his family, and claims that he has no intention of living anywhere else. He added that he is still waiting for the evaluation of the land.

"We have no plan, where are we going, we are not in favor of moving out." I also have work, and I can't balance everything in such a short time, the property and the children. It's a terrible situation, maybe someone is happy to have their objects removed and to be paid, but the 30 families who live here certainly don't. We have about 300 locals and about 200 voters, that's just Kralje, without hamlets. Three newly built houses will be removed, and those who live under the highway will also not be able to live. By building, they are not avoiding the existing road in order to make it cheaper for them...", Novović pointed out.

He does not want to move: Novović
He does not want to move: Novovićphoto: Boris Pejović

History is repeating

A resident of the Slatina settlement has a similar attitude about the savings on the construction of this route Nikola Ivanovic. He lives at the exit from Andrijevica towards Berane, along the river Lim, i.e. not far from the place where the final loop and branch of the highway is planned. Ivanović claims that the last variant of this project goes directly over the roof, or a few meters from the house. This, as he says, is not the first time that his house has been demolished, because during the 80s of the last century, their household was on the spot where the main road is now. He points out that his house was demolished, but also that only two were removed in a stretch of 17 kilometers.

My house is being demolished for the second time in half a century: Ivanovic
My house is being demolished for the second time in half a century: Ivanovicphoto: Boris Pejović

After that, he says, they were evicted to lots under the highway, but history repeats itself, so they will probably be homeless again. Ivanovic emphasized that the road is a general good, that he does not want it to look like they are proposing something to the profession, but only asks that the authorities go out on the field, show the justification and the place where the route is planned. He recommended that the highway to Beran be built on the eastern bank of the Lim River, because that side is much less populated, so the need to resolve property relations and expropriation would be less.

"From Beran, the road could go to Andrijevica on the east side, to connect to the loop via the bridge. The bridge would cost 30 million, and all our 50 houses would cost 5 million, so that each of them would receive 70.000 to 100.000 euros. But it is a profitable business and savings at our expense, because they want to displace us. This side of Lima is 90 percent more populated than the eastern side, and at the last moment the variant was changed, and the highway here runs alongside the highway. They would only initiate the initiative so that people from the profession go out into the field, because it seems that they work from armchairs. We want common sense to see this and tell us what the profession is, what we as laymen do not see. The route now goes through Lima, saving Trešnjevo, the largest village, Trepča and the right to our houses, like a repetition of history. We have meadows, we expected them to expropriate that, but not the houses. They announced their arrival for an assessment, they didn't come, they were disorganized, neither to come out nor to call us", said Ivanovic and added that this section has now received a fourth variant, that each one is worse than the previous one and that his family is in this region for 400 years.

All the residents of this region with whom "Vijesti" spoke are united in their attitude and do not want the extinction of their hearths, households, agricultural and tourist production and villages.

The majority are engaged in agriculture: Kralje
The majority are engaged in agriculture: Kraljephoto: Boris Pejović

The issue of these places will also be a test for the state, to move from words about protecting the north, positive growth, young people, rural areas and those who remain in them - to actions.

The Prime Minister promised that he would look to save the houses

Prime Minister Milojko Spajić recently said that the Government will protect and preserve houses as much as possible during the construction of this section of the highway.

"During the preparation of the main project, all requirements will be reviewed and all reasonable solutions will be considered, so that the impact of the highway route on the village of Kralje and other villages near the works will be minimal. We must be aware that the construction of a capital infrastructural project, such as a highway, brings with it consequences in the context of the necessity of expropriation of land and buildings, which cannot be preserved", said Spajić in a written reply, within the prime minister's hour.

He stated that the goal is for the route to minimally disturb the ambient environment and not endanger populated areas, which, as Spajić emphasized, the authorities told the locals at the meeting. He explained that the Real Estate Administration formed the Commission for Valuation in Expropriation Procedures, and that the expropriation of approximately 1,42 million square meters and 90 buildings, of which 35 are residential, is planned for this section, for which 14 million euros have been provided.

Planned purchase of 1,42 million square meters: Kralje
Planned purchase of 1,42 million square meters: Kraljephoto: Boris Pejović

According to Spajić, the expropriation procedure is in progress before the Administration units in Kolašin and Andrijevica, the recording of expropriation notes on immovable properties, the delivery of offers to the owners and the organization of oral hearings, where the residents with whom the expropriation is being carried out, can express themselves and submit any objections.

A third are children and young people

That there are better solutions and that the appeal of the residents of the village of Kralje must be heeded, especially since almost a third of the residents in that place are young people and children, told "Vijesta" from the local community.

They pointed out that the complete devastation of this and neighboring villages, from Trešnjevik to Trešnjevo, is unacceptable.

"According to the conceptual project, many houses would be demolished, and all the others would be endangered. "Projecting" the complete disappearance of life on this route is much more problematic than all of that, because people would be forced to leave their homes", they pointed out from this local community and emphasized that they are explicit in moving this route.

They emphasized that they will not accept half-hearted answers and compromise through the optimization of the route, because the changes would be minimal, which would be disastrous for the village.

As an alternative solution, they offered a passage through Sovale and a passage through the forest down the right bank of Kraštica, a road above the village where there are no houses, or a tunnel through the center of the village.

Bonus video: