IN OFFICIALLY laying the foundation stone, the Ministry of Transport, Postal Services and Telecommunications launched the construction of the R1 dual carriageway in Volkovce in the Zlaté Moravce district on April 3, the SITA newswire reported.
The 51.6 kilometre-long stretch of highway will cost €1.5 billion and will be constructed as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project by a consortium comprising Vinci Concessions S.A. and ABN AMRO Highway B.V..
The first 20 kilometres should be ready for use at the end of 2010. The dual carriageway project is divided into four sections, from Nitra to Selenec, Selenec to Beladice, Beladice to Tekovské Nemce - all of which are in the Nitra region - and a northern bypass around Banská Bystrica.
During the construction of the new R1, drivers will use the old road. The new carriageway is expected to solve the problem of the so-called ‘road of death’, as this section between Nitra and Zlaté Moravce has been dubbed because of its high accident rate, SITA wrote.
The construction of the first section between Nitra and Selenec will also include construction of the south-east bypass of Nitra. The local authorities believe that this will help to improve the traffic situation in the city.
The R1 route leads across plots of land with around 4,600 property relations. Of these, around 70 percent are already in the process of expropriation; some last agreements are now being made as a recent amendment to the law enabling the state to offer 1.2 times the regular market price was of great help, said Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny, as reported by SITA.
According to the prime minister, Robert Fico, the PPP projects are the best way of financing road construction during times of economic crisis.
“We want to finish the highway network in Slovakia as fast as possible,” SITA quoted him as saying. “The priority is to complete the R1 and the highway from Bratislava – Žilina – Poprad – Prešov – Košice.”
The Transport Ministry signed the contracts with the French-Dutch consortium on March 23. The contractor, which will construct and maintain the 51.6 kilometre section of the R1 for 30 years, won the tender with a bid of €1.5 billion. During the thirty years of the concession, the state budget is due to pay out a total of €3.465 billion.