Sunday, 19 September 2021

Destiny of Much Loved Motel Plitvice Lies in Croatian Motorways' Hands

September the 19th, 2021 - Motel Plitvice has been a favourite among locals and tourists using Croatia's motorways for very many years now, but now its fate lies in Croatian Motorways' (HAC) hands.

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes, the fate of Motel Plitvice, a favourite place to stop for many road users along the Zagreb - Bregana highway, is in the hands of Croatian Motorways after the Zagreb Commercial Court recently determined the debt of the motel, which requested pre-bankruptcy back in the spring.

Out of the total court-determined debt of Motel Plitvice of 39.6 million kuna, HAC's claim accounts for 33.4 million kuna of it, meaning that the motel cannot proceed from pre-bankruptcy without the consent of HAC, if the creditors vote that way.

The management of Motel Plitvice initially requested the opening of pre-bankruptcy procedings due to the consequences of the coronavirus crisis on business and its goal is to arrange the repayment of the incurred debt of 17 million kuna so that the motel can operate.

In the proposal of the pre-bankruptcy plan, the management of Motel Plitvice also stated a debt to HAC of 11.9 million kuna, but the court determined that it was in actual fact three times higher than that. This is part of a long-standing dispute between Motel Plitvice and HAC over the use of land on which the motel, with some other facilities, operates on both sides of the busy motorway.

The two parties never entered into a land use agreement, although, as established in a court case initiated by HAC back in 2001, they were supposed to do so.

As there was no contract to fall back on, Motel Plitvice disputed HAC's request that it remain indebted for the use of the land only from 2001 to 2009, in the amount of 12 million kuna. Over time, the motel's debt to HAC, according to the calculation of state highways, increased to a massive 78.1 million kuna. Ultimately, HAC won the dispute in the Commercial and High Commercial Courts, and Motel Plitvice failed even with an appeal in the Supreme Court.

HAC recently revealed that converting the receivables they have from Motel Plitvice into ownership of the motel is not an option they have on the table because, as they point out, the Roads Act doesn't allow them to proceed with such a model.

''The position of HAC on the pre-bankruptcy of Motel Plitvice depends on the final settlement proposal and the measures that will eventually be proposed by the revised restructuring plan,'' they stated quite simply from HAC.

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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

HAC Wins Global Road Safety Award, Announces New Projects

ZAGREB, 31 Aug, 2021 - The Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC) motorway operator has won the International Road Federation (IRF) global "Find a Way" road safety award, HAC said on Tuesday, noting that the award was a great international recognition.

The IRF award was instituted as part of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety by IRF Chairman Abdullah Al-Mogbel in recognition of the value of political leadership in driving road traffic injury reduction strategies.

The award is presented every year to public companies in recognition of their dedication to road safety, HAC explained.

IRF executive director C. Patrick Sankey said that road operators have a central role in enabling interaction for participants in road traffic in a safe and positive way through measures that reduce the risk of road accidents.

HAC Management Board Chair Boris Huzjan said that HAC was greatly honoured that IRF had recognised its work and that the award acknowledged the efficiency of Croatia's policy and strategy in traffic management on state-owned highways.

HAC notes that it manages most of the highway network in Croatia and that it plans to further improve road safety through two major projects.

One is designed to replace the existing variable-message signs with new generation equipment to improve traffic flow and information for participants in traffic. The project will start in 2022 and should be completed by the end of 2024.

The second project is designed to improve highway fencing to reduce the consequences of road accidents. This project is set to start in 2022 and should be completed by the end of 2025.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Croatian Road Toll Fees High Over Weekend, Close to Same Weekend of 2019

August the 14th, 2021 - Croatian road toll fees are experiencing excellent numbers so far this summer, with this past weekend being far beyond anyone's expectations from just a few months ago. Numbers like those we saw and took entirely for granted back in pre-pandemic record year of 2019 which seemed unattainable this time last year are becoming more and more of a reality.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Croatian Motorways is feeling the results of a truly excellent Croatian good tourist season so far in their business, which also recorded excellent results last weekend. From the 20th to the 22nd of August, 856.5 thousand vehicles passed at their toll booths and a massive 47.1 million kuna without VAT was collected in Croatian road toll fees.

When compared to the same weekend last year, when the turnover of 591.6 thousand vehicles and revenue of 31.5 million kuna in Croatian road toll fees was recorded, this figure marks a promising increase of 45 and 50 percent, respectively, and according to official HAC data, compared to the same weekend in In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, in which record results were also achieved, the number of vehicles this weekend was higher, but revenues were still slightly lower.

That weekend, two years ago, HAC recorded a turnover of 837.6 thousand cars and other vehicles, which means that last weekend the traffic was higher by 2 percent, and the state highways had a traffic of almost 19 thousand more vehicles.

However, Croatian road toll fees collected back then stood at about one percent higher, and on the same weekend in August in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, revenues amounted to 47.7 million kuna without VAT included.

The fact that with a larger number of vehicles there was no equal increase in revenue from freight, and it is slightly weaker, is partly a result of the fact that before the tourist season, as a government measure to attract tourists to come to Croatia, the so-called winter tariff, which is somewhat cheaper, remained in place for longer.

For more, follow our travel section.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

More Croatian Toll Fees Collected in 2021 With 25% More Vehicles on Road

August the 18th, 2021 - Croatian toll fees have felt the positive effects of the excellent summer tourist season so far, with a third more in such tolls being taken than pandemic-dominated 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the last weekend on all motorways under the jurisdiction of the Croatian Motorways (HAC), a turnover of 878.2 thousand vehicles was recorded and Croatian toll fees totalling a massive 49.01 million kuna were collected, which is an increase of 25 and 29 percent when compared to the same period last year, they announced on Monday from HAC.

During the weekend from the 13th to the 15th of August 2021, traffic on 878,191 vehicles and Croatian toll fees in the amount of 49.01 million kuna without VAT included were recorded on all of the country's motorways under the jurisdiction of HAC, the statement said.

When compared to the same weekend last year, when a turnover of 700,173 vehicles was recorded, and Croatian toll fees were collected in the amount of 38 million kuna without VAT, the number of vehicles has increased by a more than encouraging 25 percent and the amount in tolls collected has risen by 29 percent.

The growth in the number of vehicles on the country's motorways and the Croatian toll fees collected as a result of that increased traffic is a reflection of a much better tourist season than last year, when Croatia found itself in the "red" in mid-August on the eve of a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

HAC also made a comparison with the same weekend of the record, pre-pandemic tourist year of 2019, when 919,666 vehicles were on Croatian motorways under the jurisdiction of HAC, and the total toll fees collected amounted to a massive 52.1 million kuna without the inclusion of VAT.

As such, last weekend, vehicle traffic was lower by 4.5 percent, and the amount of tolls collected was lower by just six percent when compared to the same weekend in 2019.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

New Croatian Motorways App Will be Useful to Drivers in Many Ways

August the 10th, 2021 - The brand new Croatian Motorways app will more than likely become a drivers' best friend when travelling up and down the country. A tender is soon set to be announced.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, warnings when exceeding the speed limit, traffic announcements and displays of detours are just some of the possibilities that will be provided to all drivers by the new Croatian Motorways app, for which a public tender will soon be announced, reports Vecernji list.

This new Croatian Motorways app will provide drivers with access to information on the current state of traffic and meteorological conditions on sections under the jurisdiction of all motorway concessionaires in the Republic of Croatia, meaning along Croatian Motorways (HAC) roads, and it also includes the Istrian Y and the Zagreb-Macelj motorway.

As stated in the terms of reference which are part of the tender documentation, the Croatian Motorways app interface should be easy to use and provide the app's user with information on the state of traffic on their planned motorway route, which includes notifications of extraordinary events, works on the road and connected state roads, the situation at border crossings, there's also access to traffic cameras, as well as a report on travel times.

Users of the Croatian Motorways app, which will be free to download, will also receive notifications about the current speed limit on the section they're using, current weather conditions, rest areas and their available facilities, where there are toll fees to be paid, there will be contacts for police, firefighters and ambulances. Users will also be able to use the app to report incidents themselves.

The Croatian Motorways app will help drivers out during their journey by showing them detours in case a particular motorway section is closed to all or certain groups of vehicles due to an extraordinary or previously announced event, and they will be able to see the current location of their vehicle on the map in the app.

The app will also gradually introduce the receipt of information on the traffic situation from the surrounding countries - Slovenia, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary - and in case of emergencies in these countries, it will activate traffic management plans (TMP - Traffic Management Plans), in order for the users of the application who plan to travel to those countries to have real-time information about the events on the motorways of those countries.

In addition to the Croatian Motorways app, this project will upgrade HAC's public website with a new interactive map, which includes map view, map layer selection, a text overview of active emergency notifications and works, a text view of the current weather conditions and passability, routing, traffic forecasting, filtering, and data sorting.

According to the app's documentation, in accordance with HAC's interest in improving the information they provide as a public company that manages most of the Croatian motorway network, upgrading and developing the proposed app will represent a significant step forward in improving public information.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

No Seasonal Rise in Toll Prices at HAC-operated Motorways This Summer Too

ZAGREB, 10 June 2021 - Croatia's government on Thursday decided not to increase motorway toll fares this summer after it did not apply the seasonal increase also in the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lower motorway toll prices will remain in force in a bid to contribute to efforts to boost the business activity in the tourism and transport sectors.

Thus, the state-run motorway operator HAC has been authorized not to apply the summer price list between 15 June and 14 September when motorway toll fares are 10% higher than out of the season. 

The financial effect of this measure is estimated at HRK 77.5 million, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković said.SFor the latest news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Croatian Motorways Ready for Tourism Season with Even More Amenities

June 1, 2021 – Investments in the yearly maintenance of Croatian motorways are sizeable, but justified when compared to the revenue generated, particularly during the summer season.

Croatian motorways are a crucial part of Croatia’s tourism infrastructure. They are also a very important factor in connecting various regions of the country. The topography of Croatia often makes local roads inefficient. Year after year majority of guests coming to Croatia with cars have very positive comments on the motorway system. However, the entire thing doesn’t come cheap.

With the constant need for maintenance and updating, Hrvatske Autoceste (Croatian Motorways Ltd - HAC) is hard at work every year to prepare the infrastructure for the summer season. The surge of cars on Croatian roads will once again happen in a year, starting in June. Index.hr reports Croatian Motorways Ltd invested 404.9 million kn (around 54 million EUR) into this year’s maintenance and upgrading of the motorway system. Much of this money has been invested in rest stops along the motorways. This is one part of the investment travellers to Croatia will immediately feel. Upgrades made in rest stops are mostly in interiors, bathrooms, and operational technology. HAC also notes the emergency services are going to be reinforced.

New and Updated Services

Along with the standard 24/7 road assistance patrolling the motorways, additional contractors will provide more complex roadside and system maintenance services. Teams of emergency medical services and over thirty vehicles with automatic defibrillators will be on hand as well. Much like the majority of other businesses, HAC expects higher revenues in 2021 than the previous year. In 2020 the numbers were very low due to COVID19 pandemic restrictions. Because of this, HAC started this year with around a hundred employees less than 2020. Estimated revenue from motorway tolls in Croatia this year is 2,18 billion kn (around 290 million EUR).

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Croatian Roads Continuing with Investments, Toll Payment Modernisation

December the 1st, 2020 - Croatian Roads has continued to function well despite the massive drop in tourist traffic this year, as well as the multitude of economic issues caused by the ongoing pandemic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, it goes without saying that the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus this year has significantly affected most industries across Croatia and throughout all of Europe, especially in the transport segment. However, over the last three years, Hrvatske autoceste/Croatian Roads has been carrying out business and financial restructuring as part of the “Modernisation and Restructuring of the Road Sector (MARS)” project launched by the Croatian Government.

In a three year period, visible results have been achieved that have enabled Croatian Roads to continue to operate stably and continue with key investments that haven't had to be forcibly stopped even during this crisis year, which, after a series of successful years, was marked by a decline in traffic on the country's motorways.

''The season was uncertain due to the pandemic, but our expectations were relatively optimistic, which ultimately proved to be correct, so the drop in traffic on the highways was within our general expectations. Thanks to our modern motorways, Croatia has good transport connections to some key tourist markets. For many tourists who normally travel to more distant Mediterranean destinations by air, quality road connections have proven to be a decisive factor in choosing a destination, which has significantly contributed to the results of the tourist season. In the years ahead, we're going to continue with the projects we've started. The greatest emphasis is still placed on the completion of the Vc corridor in Slavonia, but activities for the construction of the A7 Rupa - Rijeka - Zuta Lokva motorway and the motorway to Dubrovnik remain in total parallel. Projects to increase traffic safety are also continuing, and in the coming period, activities will be launched to introduce a new toll collection system,'' they stated from Croatian Roads.

Following the Government Decision on the merger of the Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway with HAC, which will be implemented as of the 1st of January, 2021, we'll face further business restructuring next year. The merger also creates preconditions for more rational financial management and greater potential for investment in investment maintenance and also in construction. Consolidating the management of state-owned motorways will facilitate the introduction of a new toll collection system and bring savings to public procurement procedures.

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

Croatian Roads Putting More Than 1000 New "Supercameras" into Function

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of October, 2020, Croatian Roads will install 1,088 new digital cameras along its entire motorway network as part of the project for the reconstruction of the video surveillance system and video detection system, the value of which is around 41 million kuna.

Croatian Roads' supercameras, boasting an impressive video detection system, can detect extraordinary situations on the motorway in mere seconds, such as people driving in the opposite direction, a stopped vehicle or a vehicle moving too slowly, writes Vecernji.hr.

Croatian Roads explained that more and more vehicles on the country's motorways are creating a real need to increase overall traffic safety over them. At the same time, most emergency situations on motorways tend to occur in the zones of junctions. In order to prevent the possible consequences of emergencies on motorways, Croatian Roads pointed out, it is necessary to detect them in time and with the help of variable traffic signals to transmit messages to traffic participants and warn all competent intervention services in a timely manner. Therefore, a system of video surveillance and video detection has been introduced on motorways, which performs the constant monitoring and analysis of traffic conditions. The new cameras are being placed in locations where there is the greatest possibility of incidents.

They explained that in their operational centre, in addition to monitoring the traffic situation at all times, the weather conditions on the route are monitored and the necessary measures are taken in case of emergencies or worsening meteorological conditions. Effective emergency management depends entirely on the rapid detection and verification of incidents. With every minute lost, the risk of another, secondary accident caused by the initial incident increases dramatically. Every second employed in resolving the initial incident situation is important, they explained, adding that the effective management of emergency situations can save lives, and the reaction itself is most dependent on the rapid detection and verification of incidents.

Advanced automatic incident detection technologies, according to Croatian Roads, detect all significant incidents within seconds, and the result is mitigation of the consequences of the incident and the avoidance of secondary accidents. Traffic data, compressed images and alarms are sent to the control room. And the system can, as they explain from Croatian Roads, be integrated to serve as a trigger for other systems, such as traffic lights, variable traffic signs or information displays.

''When generating an alarm, the reference operator in the control room receives not only the alarm signal but also the visual information by recording the event itself and thus decides on the necessary actions in the most informed way possible. Real-time analysis of camera images enables more efficient management of traffic on highways,'' the Croatian Roads experts explain.

In case of emergencies, they added, their timely detection enables the quick intervention of the competent services, and other traffic participants can be notified in a timely manner in order to avoid secondary accidents. In the existing video surveillance and video detection system on HAC motorways, there are problems with camera optics, output signals, low resolution, and the cameras don't have the appropriate zoom or detail review.

Digital instead of analog

Therefore, in accordance with modern technological standards from the security and traffic information aspect, Croatian Roads started the process of the reconstruction of the existing video surveillance and video detection systems. Last year, they prepared the implementation and project documentation which envisaged the replacement of these older analog cameras with modern digital IP cameras and the installation of additional digital cameras in locations where it is currently not possible to meet the requirements of automatic incident detection.

Croatian Roads stated that IP cameras or Internet Protocol cameras are digital video cameras that transmit videos over a computer network. They have better image quality, advanced recording technology and the ability to connect a large number of cameras to a surveillance system. In addition, HAC explained, digital cameras have advanced features such as analysis, advanced motion detection technology and remote focusing. Videos are stored digitally, using network video recorders.

''Through various projects, Croatian Motorways is continuously carrying out activities to increase safety levels on motorways. Although we recently received a high rating for safety on motorways, our investments in safety continue, as shown by this project of the modernisation of the video surveillance system,'' said the President of the Management Board of Croatian Roads, Boris Huzjan.

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Sunday, 4 October 2020

Croatian Motorways Goes Ahead With Zagreb-Sisak Road Completion

As Novac/Kresimir Zabec writes on the 2nd of October, 2020, back in June, Croatian Motorways (HAC) announced a preliminary consultation on the open public procurement procedure for the Novi Vinodolski bypass, and the announcement of the tender is still pending. There is also the 11 kilometres of the Zagreb-Sisak road to deal with.

''We're working on financing the construction of the Novi Vinodolski bypass with funds from the 'Competitiveness and Cohesion' EU Fund. If we succeed in that, with the funds we've earmarked for this project, we'd start the construction of the last part of the Zagreb-Sisak motorway,'' explained the President of Croatian Motorways, Boris Huzjan.

Non-refundable funds

The estimated value of the works stands at 495 million kuna. It is a 9.8 kilometre long bypass, of which 6.5 kilometres runs along the route of the future A7 motorway, and the remaining 3.3 kilometres refers to the connecting roads to the Adriatic Highway (D8). Part of the bypass, more precisely the Selce-Novi Vinodolski section, is an integral part of the future A7 Rupa-Rijeka-Zuta Lokva motorway and its position coincides with the left carriageway of this motorway.

The Zagreb-Sisak motorway was completed to Lekenik and an addition 11 kilometres to Sisak needs to be constructed. HAC obtained all the necessary project documentation as well as a building permit. The proposal of existing installations on the route is in progress and activities on land acquisition have begun. The estimated value of the construction of these 11 kilometres of motorway stands at 291 million kuna, and the planned construction period is two years.

If this were to happen, HAC would, for the first time in its history, be able to obtain an EU grant for some of its projects. Namely, the EU doesn't co-finance road projects that will be paid later. Since the Novi Vinodolski bypass will be in the profile of a semi-motorway and no toll collection is foreseen for it, the project can be nominated for co-financing from EU funds.

Recovery fund

As has since been learned unofficially, the representatives of the Ministry of Transport are intensively negotiating with the European Commission to transfer several large infrastructure projects financed from the budget of Croatian Roads and Croatian Motorways to co-financing from EU funds. The plan is to "transfer" some of the projects already nominated for funding from the Competitiveness and Cohesion Fund to the newly launched EU Recovery and Resilience Fund, which would open the possibility of co-financing some new projects from the Competitiveness and Cohesion Fund.

Until now, HAC and HC projects could not be nominated for co-financing from that fund for the period from 2014 to 2020 because there were no more funds for transport projects in it.

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