The government has approved a new contract with Bechtel for the construction of the Transylvania Highway, a contract that entails lowering the cost to EUR 6.9 M per kilometer and that allows the setting up of tenders for the sections whose construction is yet to start, Transport Minister Anca Boagiu announced according to Mediafax. The Minister pointed out that the contract will not be publicized, the American constructor insisting on its confidentiality. “As a consequence of the negotiations, in spite of another government that planned to make us third-class citizens in front of EU member states, we will save EUR 6 bln from the budget because the overall cost of the highway would have stood at EUR 10 bln if we were to continue with the prices included in the original contract,” Boagiu said.
She pointed out that the clause that forbade the Romanian state to put one of the highway sections up for a tender for two years if the contract was cancelled has been eliminated, so that a tender for the Gilau – Nadasel section will be organized. According to the Minister, the total payment requests made by the American constructor to the National Company for Highways and National Roads (CNADR) were lowered from EUR 380 M to EUR 115 M, a sum that will be paid in three installments, namely on December 31, 2011, March 31, 2012, and May 31, 2012. The payment deadlines were also extended, from a maximum of 25 days to 65 days, and the shelving and indirect costs clauses were eliminated.
Clauses similar to those included in contracts for the construction of other highways were introduced for the highway sections that Bechtel will build, clauses such as construction deadlines and daily penalties for missing those deadlines, penalties that range from 0.05 per cent to 10 per cent of the value of the highway section to be completed. “The warranty period is also hiked from 24 to 30 months,” the Minister added.
In other developments, the Transport Minister also stated that she will recover in court the losses incurred by companies that are blocking the results of tenders and are delaying infrastructure investments, and told constructors to accelerate the rhythm of the construction works. She gave as an example a tender for implementing a high-performing railway communications system on the Pan-European Corridor IV, a tender blocked by legal challenges. Boagiu also advised CFR Passengers to negotiate its contracts with suppliers in order to lower their costs and to cancel the contracts in case negotiations fail.