POLITICS

Bucharest Mayor announces deadline for Sudului Square overpass pushed back again *Firea announces she will call on the Court of Accounts to do another audit

Gabriela Firea announced in a press conference held at the Bucharest City Hall on Wednesday that the new deadline the construction company has set for the completion of the Sudului Square overpass is April 2017. Just three weeks ago, the Bucharest Mayor had announced that the works on the overpass would be completed in March.

The new deadline however is valid only provided the City Hall covers the costs of the construction works, but at present there are many costs that the City Hall cannot cover.

The Bucharest Mayor stated that this contract, awarded to the Astaldi-Euroconstruct association, should be given as a bad example.

According to the mayor, the contract disregarded the facts on the ground, so that very many indirect costs appeared, costs that the City Hall cannot cover. Indirect costs have ended up representing 59 percent of the contract’s value, when they should not surpass 10 percent, Firea explained early this month.

Since payment arrears have been registered since March, the construction company has slowed down the rhythm of its works, Firea added.

The new deadline established by the construction company for the completion of the works (which are currently completed in proportion of 59 percent) is April 2017.

Firea said that the City Hall received assurances that the deadline will be met provided the costs are covered in line with the contract. Indirect costs however are the object of an ongoing litigation.

Moreover, Firea asked the Court of Accounts to carry out an audit and has set up a working group in order to find the legal solution to the issue of indirect costs. Until then, she “politely asked” the construction company to give up on the sums it cannot justify.

“I believe it is normal for Bucharesters to know exactly not necessarily what the offences are but in what way these works were done, why European grants were lost, why the City Hall has to possibly pay penalties and all these things,” Firea said.

She pointed out that the initial project did not foresee that the roadway would take detours in order to avoid underground utility lines.

Construction works on the Sudului Square overpass started in May 2014 and should have been completed by the end of 2015.

The project has a cost of RON 127 M, and most of that sum should have been covered from European grants. The project however lost the European grants because it was not completed on December 2015, nor on the new deadline of 30 June 2016.

The Bucharest City Hall announced at the start of this month that the Government has extended the deadlines of all Bucharest infrastructure projects financed with European grants that should have been completed on June 30. The Sudului Square overpass has to be completed by the end of 2018.

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