Thursday, 28 March 2019

Peljesac Bridge Construction Progressing Well: Photo from Today

March 28, 2019 - The project to connect the two parts of Croatia is on track - the latest from the Peljesac Bridge. 

It is the project that many thought would never happen. After more than a decade of political promises and announcements, many Croatians doubted that the strategically important Peljesac Bridge project would ever come to fruition. 

Strategically important because without it, Croatia is a country of two parts, physically separated by the Neum Corridor, also known as the Bosnian Riviera - a 23 km coastal strip which physically separates Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia from the rest of the country. The bridge connecting the mainland to the Peljesac Peninsula will fix that problem, finally connecting the modern Croatian state for the first time. 

And after years of delay, indecision and political wrangling, the Chinese consortium which won the tender to build the bridge is proceeding well. Current progress is ahead of schedule, according to sources I spoke to on the project, with completion still set for July 31, 2021, which will be a game-changer for tourism in the region. 

peljesac bridge update

The lead photo was taken today and shows 12 new vessels coming to construction site with the Zhen Hua 34 submersible ship on the right.

The steel piles for the bridge's foundations are coming from China, with 5 of the 6 ships bringing them already in Croatia, the last one due in Ploce on April 15. 

There will be a total of 146 permanent piles for the foundations, with some up to 130m, among the longest in the world for this type of pile-driving technology. 

There is still a LONG way to go with the project, but for those who are desperately waiting for a unified Croatia, the project seems to be proceeding well and the dream looks like it will become a reality in just over two years. 

You can see more photos here.

We will try and bring you regular updates on progress. You can follow the latest news on the TCN dedicated section on the Peljesac Bridge







Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Deadline Extensions, Appeals and Problems for Pelješac Bridge Access Roads

The Pelješac Bridge saga continues, and deadlines for various parts of the job, be it on the bridge itself or on its required access roads, rather unsurprisingly see more and more extensions...

As Josip Bohutinski/VL/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of March, 2019, the State Commission for the control of public procurement procedures (DKOM) has dismissed an appeal lodged by Varaždin's Colas to modify the tender documentation for the construction of Ston's bypass of Sparagovići - Papratno and Papratno - Doli.

As Večernji list reports, Colas actually only lodged an appeal one day before the expiry of the bidding deadline on February the 14th, 2019. DKOM assessed this appeal, deemed it to be unfair and subsequently rejected it. The tender for the construction of the Ston bypass road was announced on December the 3rd, 2018, with the deadline for the submission of bids for the job set for the 21st of January this year.

Due to the requirements of potential contractors requesting explanations of the tender documentation, the bidding deadline has been extended several times. The estimated value of the works for the construction of the Ston bypass road is 449.1 million kuna, and according to the tender documentation, the chosen contractor will have a deadline for completing the works, which is currently 30 months from the date of introduction to the job.

While Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste) can be satisfied with DKOM's decision on the (very late in the day) Colas appeal for this part of Pelješac Bridge's access road, when it comes to the second part of the Pelješac Bridge access road, the Duboka-Sparagovići section, the commission's decision will have to be waited on once again. Namely, the decision for this access sectiont to be built by the Greek company J&P Avax has received an appeal from Aktor SA, another Greek company that participated in the tender, as well as Austria's Strabag. J&P Avax offered 464.9 million kuna without VAT to build the Duboka - Sparagovići road section. The estimated value of these works currently stands at 482 million kuna. Offers for these works were officially opened in June last year.

In addition to J&P Avax, the job of constructing twelve kilometres' worth of this section was desired by six other companies and consortia. In the selection decision, it was stated that J&P Avax's bid was, according to the selection criterion, rated the most economically advantageous. The Aktor SA offered 464.6 million kuna, and Austria's Strabag offered 478.3 million kuna. The lowest bid was offered by Integral engineering from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina - 321.2 million kuna, but that was rejected for its unusually low price tag. Colas, the company to lodge an appeal, also had its offer of 52.5 million kuna rejected, and the China Road and Bridge Corporation were also rebuffed with their offer of 647.8 million kuna, because these offers exceed the estimated value of the works, and the Chinese didn't extend the validity of their offer. Offers were also submitted by the GP Krk association and Euro-asfalt from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a 444.3 million kuna price tag.

The scheduled deadline for construction of the Duboka - Sparagovići road section currently stands at 33 months from the date of the contractor's introduction to the job. Given the fact that in such proceedings, DKOM requires two months to decide on an appeal, the beginning of construction of this section can likely be expected to begin sometime during the middle of this year and not before.

The bid for equipping and supplying the Duboka - Sparagovići section came to an end in February with three offers. The estimated value of these works stands at 38.2 million kuna, and all three bids received are well above this amount. Valard offered 52.9 million kuna, Dalekovod offered 57.3 million kuna, and Elektrocentar Petek offered a handsome 59.5 million kuna. Croatian roads have stated however that they will cancel this bid and announce a new one in which everything needed for the Duboka - Sparagovići section and the Ston bypass will be unified.

Croatian roads have also pointed out that the deadline for completing the entire Pelješac bridge project, meaning the bridge's actual construction and the construction of its access roads, is now January the 31st, 2022.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news and business pages for more information on the construction of Pelješac Bridge and much more.


Click here for the original article by Josip Bohutinski/VL on Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Greek Company J&P Avax Selected to Build Pelješac Bridge Access Roads

ZAGREB, February 28, 2019 - The state-run Croatian Road operator (HC) has decided to select the Greek company J&P Avax to build the Duboka - Šparagovići/Zaradeze section of access roads to Pelješac Bridge at the price of 464.9 million kuna before Value Added Tax.

According to a press release issued by the HC on Thursday, a total of seven bids were submitted for the construction of the 12-kilometre long access road.

Of those seven bids, four were shortlisted, and the commission found the offer made by J&P Avax, to be the most favourable in financial terms.

The selected bidder is expected to wrap up the construction by 31 January 2022.

One of those seven bids was disqualified after the commission found that the listed price of 321.1 million kuna as offered by the Integral Inžinjerig company from Bosnia and Herzegovina was unusually low.

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

Friday, 15 February 2019

Pelješac Bridge Access Roads Will Be Finished on Time

ZAGREB, February 15, 2019 - Minister of the Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković said on Friday that the state-owned Hrvatske Ceste (HC) road construction and management company was not surprised by the appeal against the tender for the construction of access roads to the future Pelješac Bridge.

Responding to questions from the press at the presentation of a project to modernise port infrastructure in the northern coastal town of Crikvenica, Butković said that the appeal was lawful and added that HC would respond to it within 30 days. He said that the State Commission should deal with the appeal as soon as possible because EU funding was involved.

Asked if the construction of the Pelješac Bridge was the start of "a great Croatian-Chinese friendship", the minister said that companies from all over the world could apply for the international tender and that the tender process had been overseen by the EU.

"Anyone could apply and the offer that meets the criteria was selected, in this case a Chinese consortium. Our experience is good, initial reactions are good and I believe it will stay that way until the end," Butković said.

"As far as I could see, the appeal should not halt the process and extend the time for the submission of bids," Butković said and added: "It can't happen that the bridge is finished and the access roads are not. We need to finish the project within the given time frame so that the EU funding is not wasted. We are not running late, and whether or not we will finish the bridge and the access roads on the same date, that's pushing it a little bit too far."

The State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures on Wednesday received an appeal from the Varaždin-based Colas company against the construction of two sections of the Ston Bypass (DC414).

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

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Pelješac Bridge Site Visited by Major International Media

Pelješac Bridge construction is the largest infrastructural project currently taking place in Croatia, but it's also among the biggest in the European Union at the moment. Add to that the fact that the Chinese consortium, led by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), mostly state-owned company has been awarded the contract to build the bridge - for the first time in the European Union, and you shouldn't be surprised that the story is interesting even outside Croatia.

Večernji list writes about the construction site being visited these days by journalists from Italian Corriere della Sera, and their colleagues from the BBC are expected in a few days. Financial Times and the Washington Post have already written about the project, as have, of course, most Chinese media.

Western media focus on the fact that this is one of the first major projects financed by the EU awarded to the Chinese company, and how not everyone in the EU is thrilled by that fact. Financial Times gives more emphasis on the strong objections to the construction of the Pelješac bridge by the Bosniaks from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also explain why it's important for Croatia to have the bridge built as soon as possible.

Swiss public radio broadcaster also did a story about the bridge construction, as an example of the Chinese companies that simply don't have any further large infrastructure projects back home, so they need to focus on the foreign markets - and Europe is the next one to be conquered for them. The journalists are curious about the technical specifications and details about the construction itself, and the work done so far is impressive.

Construction officially kicked off in late July and is to be completed in 36 months. There are some doubts whether the access roads on the Pelješac side will be finished in time, which has nothing to do with the Chinese contractors. All the piles that have arrived at the site have been installed into the ground, including the two permanent ones in late January (following the positive results of the tests performed on the temporary, test piles). Total of 148 piles are expected to be delivered to Komarna construction site by Chinese piling ships and set up. The construction of the foundations of the bridge, piles, and concrete in the foundation is expected to be finished by the end of October this year.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Dubrovnik Highway: Talk of 800 Million Euro Project Reignited

After a decade of silence and complete inactivity, the Croatian Government is moving once again towards the temptation of a highway construction project towards Dubrovnik, a move initially started by former PM Ivo Sanader.

As Kresimir Zabec/Novac writes on the 2nd of February, 2019, after a rather unnecessarily lengthy and of course unclear title, the conclusion of the ''study documentation for the road connection of southern Dalmatia to the motorway network system of the Republic of Croatia from the Metković junction to the future Pelješac bridge and from the Doli junction to the City of Dubrovnik'' (yes you can take a breath now), which was adopted during Friday's Government session held in Dubrovnik, has actually led back to the beginning of re-activating the old plan to build a highway to Dubrovnik.

The last time constructing a highway to Dubrovnik was mentioned was way back in 2009, ten whole years ago, when a construction contract worth 3.675 billion kuna was signed in Osojnik in the presence of the controversial former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, an amount which didn't include the VAT for the planned Doli - Dubrovnik section. Although the contracts were indeed signed, the money for this project was never secured, therefore the works never started and all in all, time went by and people simply forgot about it for the most part.

Although there are permits, projects and designs from that time that still exist and could be acceptable today, Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste) will spend 4.06 million kuna this year to take a better look at the southern Dalmatian transport system in the area of ​​Dubrovnik-Neretva County and its link with the existing highway network, and determine the feasibility of any highway construction from the existing Metković junction to the future Pelješac bridge, and then from Doli to the City of Dubrovnik. They'll also rule whether or not it is simply better to use the highway through neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EU co-financing

Croatia's Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, has already jumped the gun when it comes to the talks held on Friday, stating that the Ploče - Dubrovnik motorway will be built, but the question is when. He is counting on the EU being prepared to co-finance the project in the next operational period. However, some insist that a study is needed because the road image itself has changed over the past ten years, not only in southern Croatia, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The motorway was built behind Ploče and the where the future Pelješac bridge will be, in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, the construction of part of the Vc corridor from Počitelj to the border with Montenegro through Popovo polje has also begun.

Compared to ten years ago, the highway would now be changed somewhat. Back then, the route went from Ploče to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina at Neum and then continued on the other side down south to Dubrovnik.

It was estimated that eighty kilometres of highway from Ploče to Dubrovnik could cost around 732 million euros.

Today, it is assumed that the direction would go from the current Karamatići junction to the Pelješac junction, from where traffic will go down to Pelješac bridge. That equals approximately twenty kilometres of brand new highway sections. The traffic would continue along the new Pelješac road to the Doli junction, and from there 29.6 kilometers of highway would be built leading down to Dubrovnik.

According to the old 2009 project, a total of thirty objects needed to be built, of which there were ten viaducts, nine tunnels, and eight underpasses. Back then, the price of one kilometre of construction was 16.5 million euros without VAT, equalling a total of almost half a billion euros without VAT. The price of the construction of the highway from Karamatići to Pelješac is as yet unknown, but this section is also a very demanding part of the project as the route passes through the Neretva valley, so a high level of environmental protection will be required. Owing to all of the above, estimates are that the entire highway from Ploče down to Dubrovnik could stand at a massive 800 million euros.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interest in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow.


Click here for the original article by Kresimir Zabec for

Friday, 1 February 2019

Construction of Pelješac Bridge Proceeding Faster Than Planned

ZAGREB, February 1, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday visited the construction site of the Pelješac bridge in southern Croatia, saying works were proceeding very well, faster than envisaged, and that the bridge should be completed in three years' time.

"The final deadline for the completion of all access roads and the Pelješac bridge is 31 January 2022," he told reporters, adding that pylons were currently being installed which would later hold the bridge columns.

Plenković said everything indicated the works would be completed in time. "In that way, we will finally achieve the strategic goal of connecting Croatia's south with all of Croatia."

The fact that the European Union is co-financing the bridge with 357 million euro "shows all of Croatia how important the cohesion policy is and how important the aid from the European budget is for this key infrastructure project," he said.

"This project was prepared seriously and will be a permanent symbol of the first seven years of our European Union membership," he said, adding that the bridge would show "how much we have all profited from it."

Plenković said the bridge was "of enormous significance for Croatia because we are making a new, special dimension of our cooperation with China." He thanked the China Road and Bridge company, which is building the bridge, Croatian Roads and the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure for their engagement in the construction.

Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković said that what they saw today was "indeed impressive and satisfactory." He added the 15th pylon was installed today. "It was envisaged that 1.35 pylons per day would be installed, yet we have two pylons per day being installed on average."

Butković said procedures for the second, third and fourth stages of construction were under way and that Croatian Roads would soon select the contractor for the second stage, which includes building 12 km of access roads. "Bids for the third and fourth stages will be submitted on February 14," he said, adding that the construction of Pelješac bridge was "a positive and successful story."

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

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Pelješac Bridge Brings New Tourism Boom: Komarna Comes to Life with Chinese Workers

The little seaside town of Komarna was thus far known as the popular weekend getaway of longtime politician Luka Bebić, and at the time of Yugoslavia, it was known as a resort town of Bosnian Herzegovinian strongmen and intellectuals. Today, however, the town has become the liveliest construction site in Croatia, as the biggest bridge in the country is constructed over the next three years, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on January 28, 2019. 

The town of Komarna was built in the seventies as a weekend resort. It has a little more than 170 registered residents today, about 50 in the winter, and in the summer up to two thousand with tourists. 

The town, however, is no stranger to the megaproject that is underway, which is worth 420 million euro, 85% of which is financed by the EU - the Pelješac Bridge. The renowned Chinese construction giant China Road and Bridge Corporation was commissioned for the project. 

Not only will this bridge pass through the Bay of Mali Ston, with one stop in Komarna and the other in Brijesta on Pelješac, but it will also connect Croatia after 303 years, the time that has passed since the Dubrovnik Republic handed over the territory of Neum to the Turkish Empire in 1718. 

The bridge will be 2.4 kilometers long and 55 meters tall, and it will carry four traffic lanes. The EU is also financing the supporting infrastructure needed, including access roads, tunnels, additional bridges and viaducts, and an 8-kilometer bypass at Ston.

Works have begun, construction sites on both sides of the bay are up, and foundations are being laid about one hundred meters below the sea surface. On the Komarna side, Chinese and Croatian engineers will be located in apartments, while on the Pelješac side, a container settlement will be erected for seven hundred Chinese workers. The area will transform into an actual city by the sea.

“We see them, they come through here, they were initially quiet, but now they send greetings. The main director knows how to say 'good day and goodbye’, and we, I’m afraid, are not even close to learning Chinese. And you know that there will be 700 Chinese cheering for Hajduk and singing 'Marjane, Marjane’,” said Mile Brljević (64) from Komarna, predicting that by the summer of 2021, when the works on the bridge will be completed, Komarna will be known as Zagreb, always on television and in newspapers.

“The engineers and workers who are directly involved in the project are located in Komarna, and from Opuzen to Ploče, we are renting rooms to Croatian and European controllers, observers, all those who have a job in supervision, so our restaurants and apartments will be full all winter and summer. It’s all great. There are engineers from Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb, Split, and we are all together in the same place. The Chinese see the job and are interested in nothing else, and our Neretva firms have done the preparatory work, like setting up fences, asphalt, panels, so there was a job for everyone,” says Mile.

Ivo Jerković Bili is a 24-year-old who canceled all the announced tourists until 2021 and leased about 70 beds to engineers, translators, and logistics. The Chinese chefs even cook by him, as part of the office is located there. 

“The first came in July, two bosses and engineers, and then there were more and more… At present, there are about fifty Chinese and about the same amount of Croatian engineers. You can’t miss the seriousness the Chinese have for this job; they are looking for references, all paperwork and experience, they are not interested in anything done 'by a connection'. The chief director was here, very young, born in 1986 I think. Every boss has his boss, and statements and photographs or entry into the construction area are strictly forbidden without permission from the top. There is no chatting or breaks, and there is no chance that even a penny is missed on the account.

Most of the workers will come in April and sleep in the container village. I think that the people we rented to for the summer and had to cancel will not be upset, but God, there is really a lot of work,” explains Ivo, who will open a restaurant this summer - a Chinese restaurant.

“The main Chinese chef is a professional, the food he prepares is excellent, and I noticed that they use ginger in everything. If possible, I will ask him for help in opening the Chinese restaurant. And you know what was the strangest to me; this summer, apart from the thousands of guests we have from all over Europe, was the first time we had Chinese tourists. If this is a random coincidence, who knows. But, we will have a lively and cheerful atmosphere over these three years,” says Ivo Jerković.

To read more about the Pelješac Bridge, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 21 January 2019

Croatian Transport Minister in China for Cooperation Talks

ZAGREB, January 21, 2019 - The Croatian Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, met with Chinese Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng in Beijing on Sunday for talks on cooperation in transport infrastructure, the possibility of Chinese companies using the northern Croatian Adriatic port of Rijeka and of opening direct flights between Zagreb and Beijing, the Croatian ministry said in a press release on Monday.

Butković cited the Pelješac Bridge as the most significant project that provided a boost to cooperation between Croatia and China. He emphasised Croatia's favourable geographic position and informed his Chinese counterpart of activities Croatia was undertaking, especially with regard to railway infrastructure in the Mediterranean corridor.

Li said that China was encouraging its companies to apply for tenders and to comply with deadlines and Croatian regulations. He pointed out that the two countries were fostering friendly relations and that Croatia was an important partner to China.

Cooperation in the area of infrastructure is only in its initial, but very good phase and will continue to deepen through the One Belt, One Road and China+16 initiatives, Li said.

The meeting with the Chinese transport minister was the first of several meetings the Croatian delegation will have during their official visit until January 26.

The Croatian delegation includes representatives of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, the HŽ Infrastruktura rail company, the Hrvatske Ceste road construction and maintenance company and the Rijeka port operator.

The visit marks the continuation of the process of intensifying relations between the two countries and preparations for this year's summit between China and 16 Eastern and Central European countries, which will be hosted by Croatia.

On Monday, Butković is scheduled meet with executives of the China Road and Bridge Corporation, which is building the Peljašac Bridge, and the China Communication Construction Company.

More news on the cooperation between Croatia and China can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Construction of Pelješac Bridge Proceeding According to Schedule

ZAGREB, January 10, 2019 - Works on the Pelješac Bridge and its access roads is going according to schedule, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković told reporters before a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"We will build everything as planned," he said, adding that the European Union had approved funding for 85 percent of the cost of the entire project. Butković recalled that the project would be carried out in four stages and that work on the first stage was under way.

Asked why contractors had still not been selected for the construction of access roads, he replied: "They will be, don't worry."

The Večernji List newspaper said on Thursday that the state-owned road construction and management company Hrvatske Ceste (HC) had still not selected contractors for access roads to the bridge even though a deadline had expired and that the bridge, being built by a Chinese consortium, might be finished before the access roads.

The contract for the construction of a bridge between the mainland and the southern Pelješac peninsula with access roads was signed on 23 April 2018 between HC and the China Road and Bridge Corporation. The project is worth 2.08 billion kuna (280 million euro), exclusive of VAT, and 85 percent of eligible costs will be covered by the EU. The total length of the access roads is 30 kilometres.

The bridge will ensure a direct road link between the southernmost part of Croatia and the rest of the country which is currently cut off at Neum where Bosnia and Herzegovina has access to the Adriatic Sea.

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

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