Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Expensive and Complex Croatian Road Project Grinds to Halt, Again

One of the largest Croatian strategic infrastructure projects, the construction of the state road 403 between the Škurinje junction and the Port of Rijeka, which is co-financed by the European Union with 85 percent of its funding, has been stopped, yet again.

As Novac/Kresimir Zabec writes on the 4th of November, 2019, according to what is currently unofficial information, the Jurcon Projekt company from Zagreb has filed an appeal for the tender for the construction of this (otherwise most expensive Croatian road) and thus stopped the implementation of the project until further notice. It is a 2997 meter long road with an estimated construction value of 461 million kuna, while the value of the total project is 520 million kuna. Therefore, the estimated cost of constructing one kilometre of this road is 153 million kuna or about 20 million euros.

The complaint was filed two weeks after the State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures suspended the proceedings following the complaint of a little-known Nekretnine Medulin from Rijeka. The project's investor, Croatian Roads (Hrvatske Ceste), announced the closure of the bidding process on October the 31st, just hours after the announcement that bids would be opened on November the 14th. In construction circles, this information has caused quite a surprise considering that Jurcon Projekt is a design company, and they've filed an appeal for a construction tender. Quite soon after, information was circulating unofficially that in this case, it was actually a complaint on behalf of another larger company.

According to the information available, in this case, a large Italian construction company Rizzani de Eccher is allegedly the one behind the appeal. People in the know seem to have concluded that the Italian company wants to extend the bidding process as they still have time to put together a quality offer for this complex project.

The ''games'' surrounding this tender began on September the 27th, when Nekretnine Medulin, owned by two Russian nationals, filed an appeal, just days before the deadline for opening bids. Just days later, DKOM's lawyer Boris Šikanjić filed a motion to dismiss Nekretnine Medulin.

However, as the submission did not include a valid power of attorney, DKOM requested that document. It took the company eight days to submit the document, so DKOM only suspended the procedure on October the 15th.

According to Croatian law, the tender process in such cases must be extended for as long as it was stopped due to appeals, and the opening of offers was postponed until November the 14th.

Following a new appeal, it is questionable whether or not offers will be opened at all this year. DKOM must resolve all of the appeals about strategic projects within a one month period. However, this deadline begins to run only after they receive all the documentation from the one who lodged the appeal and the investor, and not from the day the appeal was filed. Therefore, it isn't unrealistic for bids to stay open until January next year, a whole eight months after the announcement of the tender. Of course, only if there are no appeals again.

This project is of strategic importance to Croatia as it will connect the newly built container terminal, Zagrebačka obala, in the Port of Rijeka with the Rijeka - Zagreb motorway. The construction of this road, according to all of the listed criteria, is a very demanding construction project.

Namely, it passes through a dense residential area of ​​Rijeka, and above the tunnel are four fourteen-story skyscrapers, and there are between 105 and 110 apartments in each skyscraper.

In addition to these skyscrapers, there are several smaller residential buildings along the tunnel route. The future contractor will drill a tunnel just below these skyscrapers and other residential buildings. As the tunnel vault to the foot of the building is about 30 metres away, the future contractor will need to apply special drilling and tunneling techniques to prevent the collapse of the ground.

As many as eight variants were considered in the design of this road route and this was chosen as the most favourable one of all. Those in the know claim that, given the configuration of the terrain, the construction of tunnels under this heavily populated area in Rijeka is not unusual and there are several such facilities in the city. However, this tunnel is specific because of its length and the number of dwellings below which it will pass. In addition to the tunnels, two viaducts, one underpass and one overpass will be built on the route. The deadline for the construction of this road is 30 months.

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Saturday, 27 July 2019

Contractors for Pelješac Bridge Access Roads Selected

ZAGREB, July 27, 2019 - The state-owned road construction and maintenance company Hrvatske Ceste (HC) on Friday selected contractors for access roads to the Pelješac Bridge, awarding a contract for two subsections of the Ston bypass road to the Greek company Avax and a contract for the Duboka-Šparagovići section to the Austrian company Strabag.

Avax made an offer of 511.5 million kuna for the subsections Šparagovići-Prapratno and Prapratno-Doli, which are 18 kilometres long in total, while Strabag offered 478.3 million kuna for the 12-km-long Duboka-Šparagovići section.

The decision may be appealed within 10 days.

The agreement for the construction of the Pelješac Bridge with access roads, worth 2.08 billion kuna without VAT, was signed on 23 April 2018 by Hrvatske Ceste and China Road and Bridge Corporation. Eighty-five percent of eligible costs will be covered by the EU.

The construction of the Pelješac Bridge is the first of four phases of a project for road connectivity with southern Dalmatia. The other phases include the construction of access roads, and the construction of the Ston bypass road includes the construction of a bridge. The tentative deadline for the completion of all works is 31 January 2022.

More Pelješac Bridge construction news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 31 May 2019

New Split Traffic Regulations Delayed, New Start Date "First Half of June"

Another day, another delay in the ‘Beautiful Croatia’, and this time in Split where we eagerly await the start of new traffic regulations in the city center. 

Dalmatinski Portal reports that the new traffic regulations at the Split city port will not start this Saturday, June 1, as it was announced one month ago. Instead, the new traffic regulations are planned to begin in the “first half of June”, as poor weather conditions in May has significantly disturbed the work on the field, said the City of Split. 

Croatian Roads, the City of Split and the Split Port Authority are leading the project.

The City of Split released the following statement:

“It is known that the leaders of the project are Croatian Roads, the City of Split and the Split Port Authority. City offices and subcontractors are doing their part of the job on a day-to-day basis. Due to really unexpected and unusual weather conditions, we understand the delay of Croatian Roads in realizing their part of the deal, but we hope that they will now increase the pace of work and engage more workers and machines and perform their duties in the next ten days.

The public will be notified about the exact terms of the change in traffic regulations in due course,” they said.

Recall, the new traffic regulations will be implemented to ease congestion in the center. 

Namely, the biggest announcement is an entirely one-way Zvonimirova Street, completely one-way traffic through the City Harbor, with no turn to Zagrebačka Street from the direction of the Port. 

Thus, Zvonimirova street, just like last year, will be one-way, and four lanes will continue toward the city harbor. However, exiting the port will take place in only one direction, via the Bačvice bridge. The lanes at the bus station will turn in the opposite direction, considering all buses will travel to Jadranska Street.

Traffic analyzes have shown substantial capacities of this new solution and no crowds and stops approaching the City Port are expected. There will still be a problem of departing from the City Port, at peak hours (13.30 to 14.00) every day. This will be regulated in the future by adapting the timetables of Jadrolinija.

Check out the new flow of traffic below.

Furthermore, the deputy mayor of Split, Nino Vela, announced that on June 9, the highly anticipated city rail project would begin. Namely, tour bus passengers will be unloaded and loaded at the new Kopilica station and can travel for 11 kuna via public city transport from the Municipal Rail Station in Kopilica to the Split Ferry Port. Kopilica will boast a parking lot for 48 tour buses, and the daily parking fee for buses will cost 120 kuna (the same parking fee as Dračevac).

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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

VIDEO: Croatian Roads Release 3D Simulation of Pelješac Roads

Pelješac bridge is something we've been reading about and anticipating for many years now. From wondering where the funding would come from before Croatia's accession to the EU to hearing Bosnian arguments against its construction, this enormous Croatian strategic project will see the construction of a bridge connect Croatian territory without a detour through Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, needed in order to reach Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia by car. 

Works on Pelješac bridge which once seemed like they'd never happen finally began not so long ago, after a Chinese company was chosen as the contractor, much to the European Commission's irritation, given the fact that the bridge is majority financed by European Union funds. Despire that, works appear to be going smoothly and owing to the famous efficiency of the Chinese, more quickly than expected.

The joke is now that the Croats who can't seem to get the construction of Pelješac bridge's access roads off the ground (no pun intended) won't have even chosen a contractor before the Chinese have finished with the entire bridge.

Regardless, Croatian Roads (Hrvatske Ceste) have published the first 3D promotional video on what Pelješac's brand new roads are set to look like.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of May, 2019, just two days ago, the last pilot was put into place at Pelješac bridge's construction site, along the sea bed below the future bridge, 148 permanent pilots and two testers were placed, and the quick and efficient Chinese builders have thus completed the first phase of the bridge's construction, well before time.

This was the timely occasion for Croatian Roads to announce their promotional film showcasing a 3D simulation of the future road through Pelješac for the first time. Have a look at the video (in Croatian) here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more information on the construction of Pelješac bridge and much, much more.

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