Bids for Bratislava bypass below state estimate

Envelopes with bids for the design, construction and operation of the bypass were opened.

(Source: Sme)

The international consortium Obchvat Nula led by the Spanish company Cintra Infraestructuras International has submitted the lowest bid for designing, constructing and operating the bypass around Bratislava via the so-called PPP (public-private partnership). The consortium, whose other members are Porr and Macquarie Capital Group has proposed a net volume of the project of €997.53 million and an annual payment of €56.72 million. It wants to complete the bypass within 4.25 years. Thus the state should pay the consortium including influences of inflation €1.702 billion. This is significantly below the state estimate that ranked between €135 million and €151 million in case of the annual payment and the estimated price of the whole concession was €4.53 billion.

“We have always believed that an international tender is able to generate an exceptionally good price for the state because conditions today are ideal for this,” said Transport Minister Ján Počiatek as cited in the press release. “The bid we opened today is exceptionally advantageous and I believe that the new highway will make the lives of all who are waiting for it long years easier already within some years.”

In total the ministry received four bids to design, build and operate the 59 km Bratislava bypass consisting of D4 highway Jarovce - Ivanka, north - Rača and R7 dual carriageway Prievoz - Ketelec - Dunajská Lužná - Holice. All envelopes were opened on December 7. The next lowest bid arrived from the ViaDunaj consortium consisting of Vinci and Meridiam (with an annual payment of €69.01 million and a total value of €1.29 billion) followed by the Bratislava consortium of Hochtief, Iridium and Dif (with an annual payment of €76.78 million and a total value of €1.326 billion). The Astrela consortium consisting of Strabag, Reding and John Laing offered to build the bypass for an annual payment of €91.04 million and a total value of €1.573 billion.

The state must now review the bid of the consortium led by the Spanish company and other consortia in a financial model as well as their technical solutions. Based on preliminary estimates the best bid should be set by the end of January and the whole process might continue during the first quarter of 2016. The price bid for the PPP model will be compared with an alternative of construction in a classical way. In case the PPP model is determined the most advantageous, the cabinet would decide over signing the contract with the most successful bidder.

Opposition is critical

Pavol Zajac, MP for the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) claims that bids for the Bratislava bypass have confirmed that it is possible to build highways and dual carriageways cheaper than during the first Robert Fico cabinet. At that time there was a plan to complete the cross-country highway and build some dual carriageways via three PPP projects of which only one was completed. Following transport minister Ján Figeľ divided the remaining two into smaller projects while these are in various phases of completion. He claims that he has saved the state €2 billion this way.

Read also:Construction of Bratislava bypass via PPP project could be overpriced

Now Zajac compares the accomplished PPP project, Pribina dual carriageway between Nitra and Tekovské Nemce and the bypass of Banská Bystrica with a total length of 51.54 kilometres with an annual payment of €127 million for 30 years, with bids for the Bratislava bypass.

“Thus the Pribina project was enormously overpriced,” said Zajac.

But he warned that as the tender for the bypass was held in the form of a competitive dialogue, the public knows neither the proposed technical solutions nor other details that will have impacts on the annual payments of the state to the future concessionaire.

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