“The entire region – Martin, Vrútky, Sučany and Turany – has been burdened by extreme traffic levels for a long time,” said Transport, Construction and Regional Development Minister Ján Počiatek, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Some 25,000 vehicles used the first-class road there on a daily basis, which is a rate that makes it harder for a driver even to cross the road. So this new stretch, one of the key sections of the D1 motorway, will be made available today,” Počiatek said at the opening, stressing the increased safety and also saved time and costs.
The time has now come for highway stretches to be opened following years of launches of construction projects. “We expect four more stretches to be opened this year,” National Highway Company (NDS) head Milan Gajdoš said for TASR. NDS also informed, as quoted by the Pravda daily, that the new section should assume up to 70 percent of the transport that the dual carriageway was securing until July 10.
It has been calculated that the new stretch should save drivers 18 minutes when compared to using the original, first-class road. The new highway stretch features an anti-noise wall 10.65 kilometres long as well as barriers against birds stretching seven kilometres and safe passages for animals and toads. The stretch cost €137.75 million, with the project co-funded to the tune of €78 million from the Operational Transport Programme of the Cohesion Fund.
The construction started in December 2011 and was carried out by the Váhostav company. The cost of the construction amounted to only slightly more than 41 percent of the originally calculated sum. Váhostav, co-owned by businessman Juraj Široký, admitted that it built this section with a loss, only accepting the order to maintain jobs for employees. However, it was also this order that caused its restructuring. Váhostav did not pay (or later paid) its sub-contractors, including the small self-employed entrepreneurs, and thus, the ensuing debts amounted to €136 million.
Out of that, Váhostav shall repay about €44 million: the small creditors can choose to either get 18.75 percent of their claims and shares of the company promising potential dividends from future profits; or sell the claims to the state for half of their value. Most of them opted for the second choice, Pravda wrote, with the state acquiring the future Váhostav profits instead.
In about five years, the D1 should continuously connect Bratislava with Košice, the Pravda daily wrote. This stretch is part of the northern D1 highway, but for now, it remains isolated. From the west, the D1 section Lietavská Lúčka – Dubná Skala will connect to it, part of which is also the longest highway tunnel Višňové. The completion of this section is slated for 2019.
13. Jul 2015 at 13:42 | Compiled by Spectator staff