Highway company pledges to build Višňové Tunnel by 2023

Višňové tunnel has been under construction for more than 20 years, a new procurement tender has been announced recently.

The D1 stretch between Lietavská Lúčka and Dubná Skala, near Žilina, includes the construction of the longest-to-be tunnel Višňové near the settlement of Višňové. The D1 stretch between Lietavská Lúčka and Dubná Skala, near Žilina, includes the construction of the longest-to-be tunnel Višňové near the settlement of Višňové. (Source: TASR)

The story of Višňové Tunnel, near Žilina, started its new chapter after the National Highway Company (NDS) published a public procurement on the completion of the D1 highway stretch, running from Lietavská Lúčka via Višňové to Dubná Skala.

The NDS estimates the value of the contract to reach €260.9 million excluding VAT and the construction will take no more than 36 months. The state-run company aims to complete the tender and sign a contract by the end of 2020.

“I believe construction works will fully restart again, and we will hand over this stretch to motorists in 2023,” Transport Ministry Árpád Érsek (Most-Híd) said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Some sees the deadline as unrealistic.

A company with the winning bid will complete not only the nearly eight-kilometre-long tunnel but also the external route, including bridges, roadway and walls.

Competitive dialogue

The whole 13,510-kilometre stretch, including the Višňové Tunnel, was to be completed by the Slovak-Italian consortium Dúha-Salini Impregilo by December 2019 for about €409 million. The project, co-financed by the state and the EU, began in 2014.

The state terminated a contract with the consortium in the first months of 2019 as the firms were failing to meet partial deadlines and eventually lacked money. However, the complicated history of the Višňové Tunnel dates back to the late nineties.

The NDS now says the procurement process will take the form of a competitive dialogue as it wants to complete the construction at the fastest pace possible. The dialogue should involve, at least, four candidates, who will be selected according to elimination criteria once the eligibility criteria have been met. Once the dialogue is over, the candidates will be asked to present their final bids.

The offers will be assessed on qualitative criteria, including price, time needed for the preparation of project documentation, environmental criteria, and time needed to complete the construction.

Experts involved in preparations

The NDS consulted an early stage of tender preparations with experts prior to the procurement being announced.

The Value for Money project under the Finance Ministry and the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO) took part in the preparations alongside the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) and the Transport Ministry.

Because the NDS wants to speed up the completion of the D1 stretch in northern Slovakia, the whole procurement process has been divided into four stages. Once the competitive dialogue is over, three other procurements will begin.

These regard a tender on the tunnel technology, a highway maintenance centre, and the Turie highway rest area.

The completion of the whole stretch is to be €515 million excluding VAT, which is more than initially planned. In the end, motorists will save up to 15 minutes thanks to the stretch and will prevent a dangerous road under the Strečno Castle.

Read alsoVišňové Tunnel remains unfinished after 20 years Read more  Read alsoPolice investigate Višňové tunnel Read more 

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