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East-west highway promised 'by 2012'

ECONOMY Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek told South Korean Ambassador Seok-soong Seo that Slovakia’s first highway connecting Bratislava and Košice will be finished by late 2012 instead of 2010, the date first promised by Prime Minister Robert Fico when he entered office in June 2006, the SITA newswire reported.

ECONOMY Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek told South Korean Ambassador Seok-soong Seo that Slovakia’s first highway connecting Bratislava and Košice will be finished by late 2012 instead of 2010, the date first promised by Prime Minister Robert Fico when he entered office in June 2006, the SITA newswire reported.

The minister told the ambassador that the highway’s completion by the end of 2012 would significantly improve conditions for foreign investments in eastern Slovakia, SITA wrote.

However, the 2012 date offered by the minister apparently does not include completion of several final sections of the D1 highway which involve tunnels and complex engineering projects that are incldued in the third public-private partnership (PPP) highway construction package.

According to the concession agreement for D1 construction in the third PPP package signed on January 22 by the Transport Ministry and representatives of the contractor, Žilinská Diaľnica, the highway sections between Hričovské Podhradie and Lietavská Lúčka, Lietavská Lúčka and Višňové, Višňové and Dubná Skala and from Lietavská Lúčka to Žilina will be finished only after 2012.

The first two sections will open for traffic in spring 2013, according to the agreement’s timetable. The remaining two sections, including a tunnel about 8 kilometres long between Višňové and Dubná Skala, are slated for completion by autumn 2014.

Completion of the entire highway, which will be Slovakia's first multi-lane link between the capital and Košice, Slovakia's second largest city, has slipped several times since Fico made his original election-time pledge to finish it by this year.


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