After a short ceremony, the Mayor of the municipality of Markovci Milan Gabrovec and the Director of Dravske elektrarne Maribor Andrej Tumpej made the alternative roadway over the Markovci dam open to transport by cutting the ribbon. The construction works including the “reconstruction and construction of the roadway over the Markovci dam” started in December 2017 after a contract was signed with the contractor in October 2017 and were finished at the end of March 2019 – two months earlier than planned. The operating authorisation was issued on 20 March 2019 by the Ptuj Administrative Unit based on a filed application and conducted inspection.
The Markovci dam was constructed in 1978 together with the Formin hydroelectric power plant. It is the entry barrier of the power plant damming the River Drava and redirecting it to the supply canal which splits off from the Drava riverbed on the left side. The dam has six flow fields with a width of seventeen metres (the entire length of the deck is around one hundred and fifty metres) which are equipped with segment spillway gates and closures. At the same time this facility produces electricity – in the framework of a small hydroelectric power plant Markovci. One of the key transport connections between the municipalities of Markovci and Videm, mainly used by the local inhabitants, leads across the dam. With the purpose of smooth transit across the dam for these people during the reconstruction of the dam, Dravske elektrarne Maribor decided to build an alternative roadway.
“With regard to the age of construction, an overall reconstruction of the Markovci dam shall begin this year. This will include the reconstruction of the old hydromechanical and electrical equipment as well as protecting the dam construction. It a huge project which will take six years, as according to the operating conditions only one flow field can be reconstructed in one year. With the construction of the alternative roadway we ensured the conditions for smooth reconstruction; the construction vehicles and other machinery will use the old roadway which will serve only as a maintenance road, even after the reconstruction. In this, all other interests in connection to the use of space at the dam and across the dam are in taken into account and coordinated without encumbering the basic economies and the water and energetic activities.” These were the words of Andrej Tumpej, the director of Dravske elektrarne Maribor, at the opening ceremony. He added that due to the safety of transport users, the crossing over the canal remains closed for motor vehicles.
At the end, Andrej Kovač, the technical director of Dravske elektrarne Maribor, thanked the main contractor, the company RGP d.o.o., and all subcontractors who finished the works connected to this project worth almost half a million euros nearly two months earlier than planned. He put special emphasis on the fact that: “The construction designers designed a bridge with the width of 3.5 metres which is the most that is possible taking into account the capacity of the foundations. The alternative roadway is even wider than the previous road and enables the transport of larger agricultural mechanisations as well as marking a special bicycle and pedestrian trail. The motor vehicles traffic shall be regulated by a vertical signalszation.”
The mayor of the Municipality of Markovci Milan Gabrovec expressed his satisfaction at the construction of the alternative roadway. “I am very glad that Dravske elektrarne decided to construct the new bridge. With regard to the fact that the servicing and overhaul of the spillways shall take six years and that transport will be significantly limited while this is the only short connection between the left and the right banks of Drava in our municipality, I am really thankful to Dravske elektrarne Maribor and all the people responsible. I want to thank all our citizens and other users of this road for their understanding and patience during construction. I have to stress that the construction of the spillways and canal in our municipality have changed many things and that our cooperation with Dravske elektrarne Maribor has been very correct so far. I wish for the cooperation to remain this way, even in the future while there will be more open questions for which we will have to find solutions as they occur. Congratulations to everybody on this new achievement. I am convinced that it will serve its purpose well and be used by the locals, especially farmers and other transport users.”
The next steps in the comprehensive reconstruction of the Formin hydroelectric power plant
As mentioned before, this year a reconstruction of the flow fields of the Markovci dam shall begin. At the same time, the preparation of the reconstruction of Formin, the smallest hydroelectric power plant on the Drava, shall take place. According to the plan, it shall begin in the middle of the next decade. We are considering several possible options for reconstruction, from one similar to the reconstruction of all the other hydroelectric power plants – including the installation of completely new electrical and mechanical equipment – to another option where some heavy machinery would be kept in the Formin hydroelectric power plant while the present water flow of five hundred cubic metres per second enables no significant increase—five hundred cubic metres per second is the maximum which is possible, even with the present equipment. We shall therefore explore several options for reconstruction of the Formin hydroelectric power plant. Ultimately, the economic aspect shall be the determining factor, taking into consideration the maximum energetic utilisation and respective reliability of operation to decide which is the most suitable reconstruction possibility.
A responsible attitude toward nature and the environment in the future too
The With an area of almost 350 hectares and twenty million cubic metres of water, Ptuj Lake (Ptujsko jezero), which was created by the construction of the Formin diversion hydroelectric power plant, represents the largest artificially dammed lake in Slovenia. The basic intended use of the river basin district from the confluence of the old Drava riverbed with the outlet canal of the Zlatoličje hydroelectric power plant and the entirety of Ptuj Lake is energetics and water management while representing a water accumulation for the purposes of the Formin hydroelectric power plant. At the same time, it serves as:
- A containment reservoir for the purposes of flood protection;
- a source serving the enrichment of the Ptuj Lake groundwater and
- a source for watering farming land.
Ptuj Lake is also a sports and recreation facility. Besides all the functions mentioned, the Ptuj Lake also has an extremely important nature protection role. Maintaining this role, which arises from the implemented legislation of the European Union, is the responsibility of Slovenia. Dravske elektrarne Maribor follows through on these commitments. With the purpose of improving the present conditions of Ptuj Lake, a nesting island was created in 2004 with ecological remedial measures for the conservation of the common tern. Beginning in 2004, the renaturation of the asphalted shore was performed in several phases. And now the aforementioned work shall start again, according to the permissions obtained. This year, we will reconstruct the waterway barrier for directing the floating material from the Puhov most bridge to Rance and complement it with a new range of support pillars. This year’s key goals for arranging Ptuj Lake are the renaturation of the asphalt shores, removal of excessive accumulated sediments and prevention of the entry of floating material into the Rance area.