Friday, 29 April 2022

870 Million Kuna for Croatian Roads, State Guarantees Full Amount

April the 29th, 2022 - Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste) is set to get credit in the amount of 870 million kuna, and the state is the one who will guarantee it all.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, several days ago, the Croatian Government approved a debt payable to Croatian roads with a state guarantee in the amount of 870 million kuna. With this massive long-term loan, the state-owned company Croatian roads will finally manage to close all of its liabilities on existing loans and secure further financing for various projects and other business plans this year.

It will settle liabilities in the amount of 66.7 million kuna on the loan provided by PBZ (Privredna banka Zagreb) and 214.4 million kuna on the loan provided by a community of banks including Erste, HPB (Hrvatska postanska banka), OTP, PBZ (Privredna banka Zagreb) and Zagrebacka banka (Zaba).

The remaining loan amount of 589 million kuna will provide liabilities for a total of sixteen different projects, the most valuable of which are the Sava bridge near Gradiska, totalling 95 million kuna, the Vukmanicki Cerovac-Mostanje and Farkasevac-Bjelovar roads, as well as the eastern bypass of Novi Marof.

For a new loan, Croatian roads received an offer from the aforementioned Erste, HPB, OTP, PBZ, RBA and Zaba banks in the public procurement procedure, at a fixed interest rate of 1.15 percentage points per year.

The term of the loan is the end of 2022, ie the current year, and the final maturity is set to take place on the twelfth anniversary of the contract being taken out. This state guarantee covers 100 percent of the loan amount to Croatian roads.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Srijem Border Thoroughfare to be Completed in Maximum 4 Years

April 5, 2022 – Minister Oleg Butković visited the Vukovar-Srijem County on Monday, where he held meetings discussing the construction of the Srijem border thoroughfare.

As Glas Slavonije writes, the project will be completed within a maximum of four years.

The Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković paid a working visit to Vukovar-Srijem County on Monday, held a meeting in Ilok with the representatives of the County, and attended the inaugural conference of the project "Construction of the Apševac and Lipovac Thoroughfares".

This is a project by Hrvatske Ceste, which represents the first of the remaining three phases of the Srijem Border Thoroughfare construction project, and includes the construction of a road that will bypass the D57 section of the state road through the villages of Apševci and Lipovac. The grant agreement was signed in March last year, with the total eligible costs of the project amounting to 106 million kuna.

"We have secured funds for one of the most important infrastructure projects in this area, which is being implemented in phases. A few years ago, looking for an opportunity to get started, we obtained the necessary European funds and signed a contract as soon as we had building permits. Our plan is to obtain all building permits by the end of this year, and it is up to Hrvatske Ceste to speed up this process. We will ask for either European funding or as a state take charge of this and some other projects, and therefore I cannot say exactly when the Srijem Border Thoroughfare will be completed", said Butković, explaining that the duration of construction is affected by complaints and tenders, that is, something that is beyond the power of the minister, but that he will give strong support to the project as a matter of priority. He emphasized that the realization of this project involves much more than the transport infrastructure itself, given that construction is of importance for the demography as well as security of eastern Croatia, so he will try to do as much as possible during the mandate of this Government.

"We will not finish everything in two years, it is impossible, but I believe that it will be realized in four years at most. It was previously estimated that the entire project will cost one billion kuna, but we are witnessing an increase in the prices of energy and materials, which makes it difficult to calculate how much it will amount to", stated Butković.

The Vukovar-Srijem County Prefect Damir Dekanić emphasized that they discussed several strategic projects that will deal with the development of the economy and the return, i.e. the staying of the population in the Vukovar-Srijem County.

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Sunday, 19 December 2021

109 Bridges Throughout Croatia To Be Inspected

ZAGREB, 19 Dec, 2021 - The state-run Croatian road operator Hrvatske Ceste (HC) is about to start inspecting 109 bridges throughout the country, according to a report released recently by the Večernji List daily.

The network of state roads in Croatia includes over 1,000 bridges with one or more spans with the length of five or more metres.

In 1995, when the legislation on this matter was adopted, the HC company introduced a system for the maintenance and supervision of roads and road structures.

The job of inspecting the 109 bridges is estimated at HRK 2.5 million (€333,000) without Value Added Tax.

To ensure uniformity and objectivity of the inspection, evaluations are conducted using a standardised procedure called HRMOS, based on the system used by the Danish Road Directorate.

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Monday, 18 October 2021

Can Peljesac Bridge Withstand Bura, Earthquakes, Maritime Incidents?

October the 18th, 2021 - With the construction of Peljesac bridge finally drawing to a close and with access roads being hurried along, questions about Croatia's most important strategic project which has united its territory have arisen. Can the bridge cope with strong bura or will it need to be closed? What if an earthquake strikes or if a large vessel runs into one of its pillars? An expert provided answers.

As Morski writes, Peljesac bridge with its elegant 2404 metres has surrounded Mali Ston Bay and finally connected Croatian territory. It blends harmoniously into the Dalmatian landscape, but also into a landscape that is not completely safe, either. The bridge is located in an area known for its very frequent seismic activity, where bura and other coastal winds are common and strong. Might a stronger earthquake bring it down, how many gusts of jugo or bura can it withstand, what if a ship crashes into it, and how will its load-bearing capacity and stability be monitored over the years to come?

The answers to these pressing questions came from Croatian roads/Hrvatske ceste, that is, directly from Goran Legac, the engineer who is leading the historic project of the road connection of southern Dalmatia with the rest of the country, as reported by tportal.

His job is to prepare the project, organise, control and supervise all of the participants and their activities and ensure that everything being done is in line with the set plans in terms of deadlines and finances. Simply put, he and his team of experts from various professions, along with the help of numerous surveillance services, are the ones ''hanging'' over the heads of the Chinese workers who are building Peljesac Bridge, the Greeks (Avax) and the Austrians (Strabag) whose task is to build all of the accompanying access roads.

''For the quality delivery of the construction work itself, the most important thing is announcing and controlling all of the technical specifications through project documentation that must be completed by the contractor. Conditionally speaking, we perform the project with the same goal, but often with a different approach. The contractor strives to optimise the project in order to earn as much as possible while achieving the required quality. The designer, on the other hand, deals with all the highest standards and norms in order to make the construction as durable as possible. And that's in the interest of the client, in this case Hrvatske ceste, because of the maintenance costs involved,'' explained Legac.

In the case of Peljesac bridge, maintenance costs will be of course by very high. In theory, these costs are calculated by dividing the value of the structure by the expected period of use.

''It's common to expect that in the projected life of a construction, let's say we're talking about a 100-or-so-year period, the construction and equipment of the bridge through regular and extraordinary maintenance will be completely repaired and then replaced. So if the construction cost two billion kuna, then at least that much more will be spent in 100 years on maintenance alone. Of course, these costs will be lower in the beginning, and will increase later in accordance with the contractor's guarantees,'' stated Legac.

What exactly has been done to make sure Peljesac bridge will withstand those 100 years, and hopefully much longer, without shortening its ''shelf life'' due to some of the natural disasters such as earthquakes or strong winds Croatia is no stranger to?

Several tectonic faultlines are located very close to the bridge...

Southern Croatia is one of the most seismic areas in the entire country. According to seismologists, the maximum intensity of earthquakes that can hit Dalmatia ranges from 6.3 to 7 degrees on the Richter scale. The fact that there are several faultlines very near to Peljesac bridge isn't particularly encouraging in this case, which is evident by looking at the scientific database of all European seismic faults.

Legac confirmed all this, but also pointed out that there is no room for fear.

''It's true that the bridge is located in a zone which has very high levels of seismic activity, with a design ground acceleration at the foundation level of 0.34 g, which is extremely strong. However, the structure is designed and constructed to withstand what earthquakes can cause without collapsing. The level of usability ensures sufficient rigidity so that the bridge can be used even after an earthquake strikes. So, Peljesac bridge can withstand even the strongest earthquakes that can be reasonably expected to strike the area,'' assured Legac.

He added huge steel pipes with a diameters of 1.8 metres and two metres, were used to base the pillars in the sea itself. Their length ranges from 36 to 130.9 metres. For comparison, the height of the Zagreb Cathedral is 108 metres. These pipes were driven down firmly into the seabed, with the 130.9-metre one being the world record holder because it is the largest ever to be driven down into one piece, as pipes of these lengths are usually put in in extensions.

In addition to being located in a highly seismic area, the location of Peljesac bridge is known for some extremely strong Dalmatian winds. Will we have the same situation as we unfortunately did with the Maslenica bridge, which closes to traffic when bura or jugo blows?

Legac assured that this will not be the case. Namely, during the design and construction, the problem of local winds was taken into account and the construction of the bridge was tested in an air tunnel, writes tportal.

''The analysis predicts wind gusts of as much as 180 kilometres per hour. From my experience, because I've lived near the bridge for about three and a half years now, in Mali Ston Bay the jugo is much more intense than the bura wind is. Along the entire length of the bridge on both sides there will be windbreaks 3.2 which are metres high. You can see similar windbreaks on the Baricevic viaduct on the highway near Sv. Rok. They are a guarantee that the traffic will run smoothly in almost all weather conditions up to a wind speed of 180 kilometres per hour,'' Legac pointed out, adding that there are windbreaks on the construction site and they are waiting for installation as well.

The pillars of Peljesac bridge can withstand the impact of a ship of 10 thousand tonnes.

In addition to natural issues such as earthquakes and wind, the design of the bridge had to take into account its navigation profile, which was insisted on by neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and some Bosnian politicians were known for their negative stance towards the very construction of the bridge. This guarantees extra protection for both vessels and the bridge itself. But what if a large ship crashes into one of the bridge's pillars? Can he knock it down?

''There are currently no shipping lines in this area. Nonetheless, a waterway passing through the central range is envisaged. Large ships will be able to sail under the bridge. This will prevent large ships from hitting the pillars,'' Legac said.

Even if such a situation were to occur, Peljesac bridge's strong pillars are designed to withstand the impact of a vessel, with those in the middle, between which the waterway passes, being able to fully withstand the impact of a medium-sized ship of 100 metres in length and weighing up to 10,000 tonnes.

Given the strategic importance of Peljesac bridge, the project envisages the installation of equipment for its continuous monitoring. Through it, various parameters will be monitored in real time.

''Concrete isn't eternal, as some claim it to be. You have the example of the Krk bridge, which has undergone four major reconstructions in 40 years. However, Peljesac bridge is built from concrete that has the most modern additives and is much stronger class than the concrete typically used before. Chemical technology has advanced the most in the field of construction, and all of this is a guarantee that Peljesac bridge will be able to serve us for a very long time to come,'' concluded Legac.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Croatian Motorways Believes it Can Continue With Excellent Results

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of September, 2020, the obligation of Croatian motorways (Hrvatske ceste) is to take care of the entire network of state roads, which consists of more than 7200 kilometres in total. In the last four years, they have designed more than 530 kilometres of new state roads, of which 137 kilometres are city bypasses throughout Croatia, they built 116 kilometres of new roads, and reconstructed more than 405 kilometres of existing roads. In the same period, Croatian motorways was the second largest contracting authority in the Republic of Croatia.

"I'm proud to note that we've managed to improve traffic safety in the programme period in question. Namely, in 2019, we had a 13 percent increase in traffic, and as much as 12 percent fewer accidents with deaths. We have prepared and withdrawn 100 percent of the EU funds available to us from the "Competitiveness and Cohesion" Operational Programme. It goes without saying that the Ciovo bridge, which has been talked about for more than 50 years, occupies a special place here, and we finished it despite it being an almost hopeless situation. The Nin bridges which were destroyed during the great flood of 2017, were opened this year, much to the delight of all who had the opportunity to see them.

Every project in which we solve bottlenecks, especially around Split, Vodice, Rijeka or Vinkovci, are of special importance. The crown of all these projects is the historic project of building Peljesac Bridge, which we've been dreaming about for decades, listening to stories about for years, and now we're building it thanks to European Union money. This was a period in which the work of Croatian motorways was recognised through recognitions such as the "Rexpo 2018. Best New Investment Award" for the Ciovo bridge project or the Vecernji list reader award for the construction of Peljesac bridge as an economic event in 2019. These are recognitions for all of our employees for their work,'' said Josip Skoric, President of the Management Board of Croatian motorways.

What is important to emphasise is the fact that in the last four years, Croatian motorways, in cooperation with the Croatian Government, carried out the financial and operational restructuring of society and digital transformation.

"Within the project entitled The Modernisation and Restructuring of the Road Sector (MARS), a review of the company was performed and measures and activities were defined to raise efficiency. We've set clear and measurable goals and indicators through which our managers monitor every investment and every employee, and I believe that we'll further improve our business in the coming years. Furthermore, a thorough digital transformation of the company has been initiated and largely implemented over recent years. Four key areas of transformation have been defined: project management, document management, road asset management and business information systems,'' said Skoric.

''We've made great progress in the application of the so-called BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology and methodology that we implement in all phases of the construction process - planning, design, construction and maintenance. By the end of the year, we expect the procurement and selection of a contractor for the Road Property Management System (RAMS), software that will have two key functions: a reliable and accurate data inventory easy to use for roads, buildings and other road infrastructure elements and an assessment tool which will give priority and the estimation of the costs of future periodic maintenance and remediation needs, using the latest developments in international practice. I'd also like to mention that we've published the WEB GIS portal of all public roads in the Republic of Croatia on our website,'' said Skoric, adding that the completed projects are a reminder of a successful period, perhaps a motive for launching new projects, and an idea to make greater use of the development potential of transport in the Republic of Croatia.

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but thanks to continuous work, state roads are becoming safer and more fluid, and by building key facilities, we're significantly raising the quality of life for people. Everything done in the previous period in terms of social development and business modernisation shows I'm right when I say that we have the necessary courage and knowledge to continue with the successful results of Croatian motorways, making maximum use of EU funds, even during the pandemic,'' concluded Skoric.

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Monday, 17 August 2020

Losses for Croatian Motorways Amid Pandemic: "We'll Survive"

As much as 20 percent of Croatia's GDP is made up by tourism as one of the country's strongest economic branches. Given the fact that Croatia is a destination to which many European tourists drive (with the exception of the UK and Ireland, the nationals of which tend to use air transport), Croatian motorways are usually packed at this time of year with license plates from across the continent visible across the country. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, those same Croatian motorways have experienced expected losses.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 16th of August, 2020, Ivan Ribicic, the director of the toll collection sector at HAC, told Dnevnik N1 what the situation currently looks like on Croatian motorways, which is a state-owned company.

"HAC is operating with a deficit of 30 percent, which is 540 million kuna," stated Ivan Ribicic, but the opening of the tourist season has indeed improved revenue when compared to the way things stood earlier on in the year, he stressed. Given the fact that the ''lockdown month'' for Croatia took place back in April and that Croatia has experienced more toursim than the previously dire predictions suggested, this is logical.

"HAC is in its restructuring phase, we were well on our way to getting better. The crisis caught up with us, but thanks to banks and to our creditors, we managed to get our hands on some stand-by arrangements, so we do have room to breathe and we'll invest the money for the future. If revenues remain at this level, then we will survive,'' the Croatian motorways director explained.

Some workers at HAC have been retiring, taking severance pay along with the move, and that's how they're dealing with unfortunate redundancies, he says.

"It's good that people are using ENC devices more and more, and the campaign is contributing to that. We organised and monitored the hourly loads at Croatia's toll stations, ans so we were able to organise ourselves accordingly,'' said Ribicic.

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Saturday, 27 June 2020

IGH Institute Signs Contracts with Croatian Roads Exceeding 12 Million Kuna

As Novac writes on the 26th of June, 2020, following the carrying out of the necessary public procurement procedures, the IGH Institute was awarded three new contracts with Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste) for the construction supervision and reconstruction services of three traffic routes with a total value of around 12.3 million kuna.

This is a complete supervision over the construction of a highway of more than six kilometres in length through Karlovac in the direction of Split, which will improve traffic safety and capacity, especially during times of increased summer traffic. In addition, the new road will completely bypass Turanj, a settlement that has been extremely congested so far, and will connect to the already built Korana bridge. As already mentioned, IGH together with its partner will supervise the construction, and the value of the contracted work for the company stands at 4,606,992.00 kuna.

The second contract signed with Croatian roads is also for the complete supervision over the construction of the 3.2-kilometre-long bypass of Beli Manastir, which will better solve the need for the reduction of traffic, especially transit, through the very centre of Beli Manastir. This is extremely important because it is expected that the further construction of the Corridor Vc motorway will further emphasise transit traffic. The value of these contracted works for IGH amounts to 3,379,990.00 kuna. The deadline for completion of works is 22 months from commissioning.

Finally, the third contract with Croatian roads includes the supervision over the reconstruction of the new pavement structure of the state road between the settlements of Normanci and the Municipality of Petrijevci, with a total length of slightly more than 17 kilometres. Of particular interest in the project is the planned construction of 14 kilometres of new bike/cycling paths with the reconstruction and extension of 9 kilometres of pedestrian paths. The deadline for construction is 24 months, and IGH will conduct a complete inspection, while the value of the contracted work for the company amounts to 4,300,020.00 kuna.

In addition, they recently signed a contract for the supervision and quality control of the rehabilitation of the Krk Bridge worth a little more than 1,000,000.00 kuna.

IGH currently has around a thousand active contracts for the full range of services it offers, primarily in construction, making it a leading engineering company in the construction sector. Additionally, during the last and this year, IGH hired more than 100 new colleagues, which saw it exceed the number of 500 employees, and in the coming period it plans to hire even more manpower.

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Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Croatian Roads: Here's Who Could Build Country's Most Expensive Road

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of December, 2019, so far, five bids have arrived to Croatian Roads (Hrvatske ceste) for the construction of the state road D-403 in Rijeka, according to a report from Novi list.

Bids for the construction of the most expensive piece of road in the Republic of Croatia were opened on Monday morning by the company Croatian Roads, with the consortium consisting of Slovenia's Kolektor, GP Krk and Sarajevo's Euroasfalt, in the amount of 456.35 million kuna excluding VAT, or 570.44 million kuna with the VAT being the most financially favourable offer of all so far.

Following that comes the offer from Chinese CRBC, the company that is responsible for the construction of Pelješac bridge down in southern Dalmatia, in the amount of 586.34 million kuna with VAT, followed by an offer from the Italian consortium led by Rizzani deEcher, which would build the D-403 road for 598.38 million kuna in total.

The fourth bid to have arrived at Croatian Roads by the Austrian company Strabag comes with a price tag of 638.94 million kuna, while the most expensive offer has come from the Croatian-Turkish consortium consisting of Poduzeće za ceste (PZC) from Slavonski Brod and Yapi Merkezi, offering an amount of 718.37 million kuna, with the value added tax included, to carry out the works on the road.

The estimated value of the works in the procurement process stood at a massive 461 million kuna, excluding VAT, meaning that the only bid by the aforementioned Slovenian-Croatian-Bosnian consortium, which is even lower than that by 5 million kuna falls within the previously estimated amount, and the Chinese state owned company's offer is also close to that, but unfortunately exceeds the estimated amount by just over eight million kuna.

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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:

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