Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

Sofia’s Western Arc Appreciates by BGN12MN

The construction cost of the Western part of Sofia’s ring road is rising significantly. Several days ago the Road Infrastructure Agency signed a contract with the contractor DZZD Trace, which granted it another 12 million levs, without VAT, for the project. The negotiations of the additional amount proceeded without a call for competition, and through direct talks with the consortium, which includes Trace Group Hold, PSI, Road Construction and Stanilov. The reason for this approach is well known - additional works cannot be technically separated from the subject of the main contract without causing great inconvenience to the contracting authority.

The technical design of the site was made in 2009 by Sofia Municipality and subsequently transferred to the Road Infrastructure. In 2011 the agency assigned the development of a few options for the key road junction of the Sofia ring road and Slivnitza boulevard. Finally, the current version was passed, with the construction of a facility on three levels, and it entered in the contract signed in August 2012. It turns out that a bunch of designers have overlooked the need for reconstruction of the plumbing, plus two main heat pipelines. So now, there is a need to ask for additional funds for the newly emerged construction and installation works.

The 12 million in practice will be added to 39.85 million levs, to which the union Trace - Sofia, won the contract set at an indicative value of 74 million levs. A check by the Banker weekly in the register of the Road Infrastructure Agency found that until now the contractor has been paid more than 37.57 million levs.

The new cash injection will definitely intensify the work on the intersection, which has become quite bland recently. And if all goes according to plan, next year’s western arc of the ringroad should look completely like the Southern one - with three active lanes in each direction, and other local lanes.

Far more problematic, however, is the second section from the river Karach to North Tangent speedroad, which has a length of 5.5 km. Initially, the former transport minister - Daniel Papazoff decided that the cist did not need the construction of this highway and even redirected the money to some of the unfinished railway projects. But after much public pressure and frustration coming from Brussels, in July the road agency announced a competition for the construction of the western arc. It was suspended on 1 September by then newly appointed head of the department Lazar Lazarov. However, this was not the final turning point. On 30 September Mr. Lazarov opened a new tender to select a contractor. Its indicative value was set as before - 92.72 million, VAT excluded, but because of the constant delays less operating time remains now (the deadline is the end of 2015-a). Objectively speaking, the agreement is unlikely to be signed before February next year, as bids will be accepted until November 10. Then, the evaluation committee will think over for at least two months. Thus, the selected company will have only about 10 months to complete the section, although consolidation of the ground foundation on which to build is necessary. The downside is that a delay on behalf of Bulgaria would mean the country would not be able to enjoy the 60 million levs granted for purpose from Brussels and will be forced to cover all costs through the state and municipal budget.

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