AFTER the Robert Fico cabinet again greenlighted the Bratislava ring road project, mayors of villages near the capital call for as early start of construction works as possible.
“Each hesitation will only worsen the already unbearable situation,” Štefan Jurčík, mayor of Dunajská Lužná village said, as cited by the TASR newswire, pointing out that as many as 28,000 cars pass through the village daily.
Mayors of Miloslavov and Bratislava’s boroughs of Podunajské Biskupice and Vrakuňa joined the call, saying that citizens of the affected villages are tired of academic discussions about parameters of the project.
“We cannot make politics and explore the price and discuss whether it is appropriate to do it in the form of PPP,” said Milan Baďanský, mayor of Miloslavov. “We only see the solution that is necessary.”
They hope that the R7 dual carriageway from Bratislava to Holice (towards Dunajská Streda) that is part of the planned ring road will help their villages to reduce traffic on the local roads.
The cabinet re-approved the project to build the 59-km Bratislava ring road on May 11 when the previous minister Ján Počiatek did not sign the contract before the elections held on March 5. The winner of the tender was announced on February 1 and the cabinet approved the contract on February 17. After the elections on March 5 new Transport Minister Roman Brecely appointed an expert commission to review the contract. It has not found any discrepancies. In the meantime the minister managed to include in the contract two appendices.
“We’ve managed to put a provision on shell companies in the contract,” said Brecely as cited by TASR. “We’d like all the firms participating in this public contract to have unambiguous ownership structures.”
The second appendix should protect sub-contractors from secondary insolvency of the constructor. This way Brecely wants to avoid the situation which arose around the construction company Váhostav when it did not pay invoices to small sub-contracting companies and in the end it underwent restructuring.
Now Transport Minister Brecely can sign the concession agreement with the winner of the tender, the consortium Obchvat Nula led by Spanish Cintra Infraestructuras International.
The consortium won the tender when it offered to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Bratislava ring road project within a public-private partnership (PPP) project for an annual instalment of €56.72 million. In total the state should pay the consortium €1.9 billion when inflation is taken into consideration over 30 years.
The consortium, which features also Austrian Porr and Australian Macquarie Capital Group, offered the lowest instalment price.
Minister Brecely expects that construction works would start in the summer or autumn this year.
The ring road should be completed in 2020.
But first the consortium, which plans to build the ring road within four years and four months should achieve the so-called financial close. The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will also participate in financing the project.
The ring road consists of the D4 highway Jarovce – Ivanka, north – Rača and the R7 dual carriageway Prievoz – Ketelec – Dunajská Lužná – Holice.
Several experts have questioned the ability of the planned ring road to solve the transport situation in and around Bratislava, asserting that additional measures will still be needed.
The Institute of Financial Policy (IFP), a governmental think tank at the Finance Ministry, has elaborated a comparison of financing of the project from the state budget and as a PPP. Thus if the construction of the ring road starts this year, the financing of the project from public finances would be €62 million more advantageous than financing via PPP. However, building the project financed from public finances would require a new tender, which would prolong the whole process by two years at least and IFP estimates that construction works would commence only in 2018. In such a scenario the PPP project comes out as €113 million more advantageous when the two-year social-economic benefits are estimated at €178 million. In case the construction starts in 2017, the PPP would be more advantageous by €26 million.