Transport Minister: No One Will Stop the Pelješac Bridge

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Transport Minister Butković comments on delays in tender for construction of the Pelješac Bridge and situation in the road sector.

Minister of the Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković said there was no reason to doubt that construction of the Pelješac Bridge would start as planned mid-next year, adding that a decision on the restructuring of the road sector would be announced by the government by the end of November, reports Večernji List on October 23, 2016.

“This is a really important and large infrastructure project and I think that human pettiness will not stop the Pelješac Bridge. I am certain that the construction will start during 2017”, said Butković, adding that at the moment there were two processes taking place. “One is the application process for a major project with the European Commission. We are currently waiting for a certificate of readiness of the project and then we will send it to the Ministry of Regional Development to give us a positive opinion, after which the European Commission will have three months to make a decision whether to finance the Pelješac Bridge and to what extent”, he explained.

Butković added that the second issue were the official complaints which had been received relating to the tender documentation, but that it was “slowly coming to an end”. “I do not want to go into the motives and reasons for filing such complaints”, said the Minister. “After we check the financial, technical and legal capabilities of bidders in the first round, we will move to the second round of the tender. I believe that early next year we will choose the best contractor for the construction of the Pelješac Bridge”, said the minister.

Asked what will happen with the rescheduling of 1.8 billion euros of debt of the Croatian Motorways, Croatian Roads and Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway public companies, Butković said that negotiations with the World Bank on the restructuring of the entire road sector were currently being finalized and that the government would make a strategic decision about the road sector by the end of November. “By the end of the year, we will complete the negotiations and conclude loan agreements, and we expect to issue first bonds in the second quarter of 2017”, said the Minister.

The decision which the government will make will include several basic points. “The first point is new standardization and categorization of roads, particularly state roads; the second is the new institutional framework of companies; then there are improvements in the system of maintenance, the possibility of introducing a new model of toll collection system, as well as long-term planning of large investments”, said Butković.

Speaking about potential solutions for toll collection system, Butković said that vignettes would not be introduced for now, but that in the future a GPS satellite system could be used. “The study that we have prepared together with the EBRD does not indicate that we should introduce vignettes”, he said.


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