Bucharest General Mayor Gabriela Firea and Bucharest District 4 Mayor Daniel Baluta on Sunday opened the Piata Sudului underpass, with Firea mentioning that the constructor has promised to complete the underpass area for trams by September 10.
“Today we are opening the Piata Sudului underpass for cars, an investment that was 60 percent physically completed when we took over (…) The contract was signed in 2014, with a 2015 deadline. Unfortunately , because of design errors and poor management, this project was blocked. Its benefits are huge, especially for this area of the capital city, because it increases traffic fluidity on the southern side of Bucharest, while also increasing traffic speed and cutting waiting time by 70 percent,” Firea told the opening ceremony.
She explained that the total value of the project was initially calculated at 19.5 million euros, of which 90 percent should have been European funds. “Unfortunately, due design errors and poor management, the City Hall lost the funding in 2015 and only 15 percent of European funds were used for this project, with the remaining costs covered from the city’s coffers,” Firea said.
She added that 40 percent of the project has been carried out this year, with reported savings of 1.2 million euros.
“This year we have conducted 40 percent of the project, while 60 percent of it was done in two and a half years (…). We also achieved savings of 1.2 million euros because we calculated the public money very judiciously. Finally, the project costs 18.3 million euros , instead of 19.5 million as initially calculated,” added Firea.
She pointed out that besides the four-lane underpass, two per each direction, eight elevators were built for elderly and disabled people and four escalators.
“There is a promise from the constructor that the tram area will be finished and commissioned before the the beginning of the school year on September 10,” said Firea.
She explained that there is litigation between the city and the builder of the Piata Sudului over the constructor’s demand of additional money to the tune of 60 percent of the total project costs.
“There is a pending court case about the amounts the constructor thinks he has spent, but they were not included into the initial contract. The City Hall could not settle, and then we decided to agree to complete the investment pending a the court’s ruling, because just waiting for the court’s ruling – which might have taken two, three or four years – and completing the investment afterwards would have meant disrespecting the Bucharest people. So far as I know, it is 59.60 percent of the initial value of the contract of 19.5 million euros,” said Firea.
In his turn, Bucharest District 4 Mayor Daniel Baluta said that the opening of the underpass is ” a huge success.”
“To the 4th district residents, the commissioning of all lanes and interconnections is a huge success. It is a moment that shows the capabilities of the administration under the leadership of Mrs Mayor possess. You will see that in a month or two this extremely important project will be continued with the extension of the Berceni highway to the ring line, the extension of the Turnu Magurele road, the extension of the Caporal Luica road, and Piata Sudului parking lot, all of which are started in the next 30-40 days, “said Baluta.
Works on the Piata Sudului underpass began in May 2014 and had to be completed by December 2015. The underpass was partially opened to traffic on April 28, on one lane.