ONE OF Slovakia’s biggest construction companies, Váhostav – SK, which is working on a stretch of the D1 cross-country highway, has been slow to pay its subcontractors, arguing that they are operating at a loss on the project, the SITA newswire wrote.

“Because this construction is for Váhostav – SK loss-making, not all obligations can be settled in time,” Tomáš Halán, spokesperson of Váhostav – SK told SITA. “Obligations from this construction will be settled from income for [other] constructions which Váhostav – SK is carrying out.”

Váhostav – SK began the construction of the 16.4-km long Dubná Skala – Turany stretch of the D1 highway in late 2011. Work on the highway is progressing on schedule.

“The deadline for completion of the construction by the end of this year is binding,” said Halán.
For the time being, more than 100 employees of Váhostav – SK and about 210 employees of subcontractors are working on the highway, according to Halán.

The National Highway Company signed the contract to construct the highway stretch on October 26, 2011, with the winner of a public tender that offered the lowest price. Váhostav – SK promised to build the Dubná Skala – Turany stretch for €137.75 million without VAT, which is 41.15 percent of the originally estimated cost of €334.72 million.

Ján Kato, general director of Váhostav – SK, said after signing the contract that they regard the price as realistic.

“The price is final; changes are possible only in reasoned cases,” said Kato, adding that he does not expect the occurrence of any exceptional events or circumstances. A 10-percent reserve is part of the agreed price.

Former transport minister Ján Figeľ said at that time that with the money saved on the construction of the Dubná Skala – Turany stretch, it is possible to build another part of the highway or renovate hundreds of kilometres of first-class roads.

Prices resulting from the public tenders on construction of four D1 highway stretches close to Levoča (two parts of the Jánovce – Jablonov stretch), Prešov (Fričovce – Svinia) and Martin (Dubná Skala – Turany) are almost €700 million lower than the costs planned by the first Robert Fico government via the so-called first package of the public–private partnership (PPP) project.