Road construction intended for (horse-drawn) carriage traffic through the famous Istrian Mount Učka began in 1740 and was completed in 1785 during the reign of Emperor Joseph II. But at that time Učka was still an obstacle to improving the quality of transport between Istria and Rijeka. Until the end of World War II the idea of drilling the tunnel sporadically came and went, getting stuck on some points of political interests of those who wanted to dominate in this area. In 1949, at the first meeting of the representatives of Istria and the Slovenian coastline with Yugoslav President Tito, he mentioned that ‘this year the drilling through Učka tunnel is likely to start’. However, only two decades later, on 27th November 1970 the decision about establishing the company named ‘Učka, road building company based in Pazin’ was confirmed, which was registered in the court register in 1971. From 1971 to 1973 extensive preparatory works were carried out, but due to problems of financial nature, the drilling began only on 27th August 1976. The tunnel was officially opened to traffic at six o’clock on 28th September 1981, which meant that Istria was not only politically, but also with a direct transport, linked to the Croatian homeland.
At the time of opening to traffic Učka tunnel was the longest tunnel in Europe with longitudinal ventilation system. ‘The final figure regarding the tunnel and its access roads costs according to current prices, including all sliding scale related to price increase, is two billion and 95 million dinars’, said the Director of ‘Učka’, Mario Ladavac, in the days of opening the tunnel.
In late 2015 a monograph about 45 years of growth of this company was issued. It is about a company that contributed to the achievement of several hundred years long aspiration the inhabitants of the peninsula had to connect with the continent. Editor is Mirjan Rimanić, texts written by Mario Ladavac, Mirjan Rimanić, Lino Stranić, Vladimir Šepic, Draško Draškovic and Marčela Šestan Baf, publisher Učka-konzalting, concept and graphic design by Studio Sonda.