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March 2, 2021

Transilvania motorway, with or without Bechtel

The Americans of Bechtel are reluctant about renegotiating the contract in the terms set by the minister of Grand Infrastructure Projects, Dan Sova, the Romania Libera newspaper explains in an analysis. Romanians could thus hear for many more years about Bechtel as so-called contractor of the Transilvania motorway, after they thought, in September 2011, that they got rid for good of the contract which took EUR 1.6 bln out of their pockets and only brought them 50 km of motorway.Now, government officials serenely say that there would be nothing wrong if the relation with the Americans continued. “If we continue with Bechtel, it’s alright, if not, there are advanced talks with other possible contractors that will build it, possibly under concession,” Liviu Dragnea said at the end of last week. Informal sources with the Motorways Company, who know well the contract for this motorway, claim that Dan Sova tries to convince the Americans into taking the motorway under concession (they will finance and build it, at different prices than the very high ones charged today), but they have no interest to give up such an advantageous contract for them. A control official of the Ministry of Transportation said, few years ago, that the Americans are better paid if they do nothing than if they work. They receive even more money if they do their job poorly.

Under the contract, Bechtel must pay for the repairs of the motorway, if the construction was flawed, but – paradoxically – they were never made responsible for anything going wrong during the last 10 years. For example, they allowed the base of several artworks stay underwater for 1-2 years, until they were completely destroyed, although they had to remove the water immediately on their expenses, and even received extra money for excavations and restorations of the respective works. Recently, the officials of the motorway management company refused to explain in what conditions Bechtel would stay in Romania, invoking a ban set in place by minister Dan Sova.

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