Pelješac Bridge: Croatia’s Most Important Project Is One Billion Kuna Short

Lauren Simmonds

The drama of the endless Pelješac Bridge saga continues…

As Dubrovacki Dnevnik writes on the 5th of November, 2017, contrary to the recent announcement of Minister Oleg Butković, Hrvatske ceste (Croatian roads) haven’t yet made a decision on the selection of contractors for the construction of Pelješac Bridge, which was expected by the end of last month.

Bids were submitted by the Italian “Astaldi” and the Turkish “IC Ictas”, who would build the bridge for 2.5 billion kuna, Austria’s “Strabag” offered their services at a price of 2.6 billion kuna and a Chinese consortium came with the cheapest bid of two billion kuna.

If the decision is appealed, which is very likely, it is then realistic to expect a contract for the construction of the bridge to be signed by early 2018, after the State Commission for Control of Public Procurement (DKOM) decides on the possible appeals.

The procedure is, as you may have come to notice, very slow. Hrvatske ceste has 120 days to come to a decision and the deadline actually expires only in mid-January 2018.

The bidding opening was announced on September the 29th this year and the deadline for the submission of bids was October the 30th, but the selection procedure was stopped because two complaints were filed on the tender documents on October the 11th.

As DKOM decides on appeals, things will come to a standstill. There is a chance that the deal will not be completed by February or March next year. Delays in selecting a supervisor for the works is important because the works can’t begin without the contractual supervision.

There was another issue when it came to Pelješac Bridge – money. And that’s the 15 percent, the Croatian part of the investment, which isn’t covered by European Union money.

Offered prices without VAT come under the terms and conditions of Hrvatske ceste, i.e, the European Commission, which will finance 85% of the investment. When VAT is added, the prices offered by “Strabag” and “Astaldi” rise above the three billion kuna, while the cheaper Chinese offer reaches 2.6 billion kuna. The fact that the price is not the only criterion for the evaluation of bids shouldn’t be neglected or forgotten either.

The state budget’s planned money for the project for this year amounted to 261.8 million kuna, 885.39 million kuna was planned for next year, and for 2019, 815.9 million kuna was planned. All in all, these sums come to a total of 1.96 billion kuna – not enough.

Out of the total amount of eligible expenditures planned in the state budget, the Republic of Croatia expected and received co-financing from the European Commission of up to 85 percent (357.2 million kuna) of the total cost of the project in the period between 2017 and 2021.

It should also be noted that actual activity on the construction of the bridge will only be visible five to six months after the contract is signed, as the contractor will first have to carry out exploratory works, organise the ins and outs of the construction site and draw up all the necessary plans.


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