Oleg Butković: ”I Don’t Expect Thousands of Chinese Workers On Pelješac Bridge”

Lauren Simmonds

Works on the highly anticipated bridge connecting southern Dalmatia with the rest of Croatia’s territory will officially start at the end of this month, as has been stipulated by the contract.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of July, 2018, the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, said he would not expect thousands of Chinese workers to build Pelješac Bridge, according to Večernji list.

When will the works on Pelješac Bridge begin?

“After having secured EU funds in the amount of 85 percent for Southern Dalmatia’s road link project, and after having signed a contract with a Chinese contractor at the end of April in Dubrovnik, all the conditions for the construction of Pelješac Bridge have been met. Currently, preparations for work are underway, and according to the information I’ve got, the contractor is engaged in discussions with potential work contractors, and at the end of July the work will officially begin as is stipulated in the contract

After the contractor gets to work, a seven-month period will follow, during which the examination of the seabed will be undertaken, as well as the implementation of projects and so forth. Therefore, there’s still a lot of work to be done before the physical construction of the bridge can begin, but I expect everything to be done as has been set out in the contract. On the other side, the realisation of other phases in this project are beginning upon their realisation. The tender for access roads has been written, and the current offers are being evaluated by Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste). The writing up of tenders for the third and fourth phases of this project, which include the construction of bypasses, is planned for autumn so we’ll likely have contractors for that part in 2019. Basically, everything is going according to the predefined term plan,” Butković said in an interview with Večernji list.

How big of a share of the Pelješac Bridge project could Croatian companies get their hands on as subcontractors?

“Croatian roads have so far received one request for the approval of a subcontractor for a project part of the job, which is a Croatian company. I believe and expect that a lot of Croatian companies will be involved in the actual construction of the bridge, as well as in the construction of access roads. According to the Law on Public Procurement, 30 percent of the work is allowed to be subcontracted to the subcontractors and I expect that in the case of Pelješac Bridge and the access roads, this will mostly involve Croatian companies,” said the Minister.

Will construction contractors working on Pelješac Bridge and its access roads be faced with workforce problems?

“There’s a sufficient number of quotas in case the labour force comes from abroad, and the government has made a step [forward] in regard to that, so we’ve increased the quotas for civil engineering as well. This is a process which is already going on and there should be no problems,” Butković responded.

There is constant talk about the possible arrival of Chinese workers on the construction site of the bridge. How many could come?

“I don’t know how many Chinese workers there’ll be, I expect a certain number of them, but it won’t be in the thousands,” said Butković for Večernji listčernji list.


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