With a population of more than 21 million, Romania is currently in the midst of a major infrastructure development program, aimed at significantly growing its economy and addressing the unemployment rate. Development of new infrastructure – particularly strategic motorways – is a significant part of that program in this Eastern European nation. "Romania’s geographical location at the 'future edge' of the European Union and closer to nations like Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, creates potential for international transit traffic," said Panayiotis Methenitis, vice president of Balkans for Hill International. For its part, the government has taken up what it calls a ‘Sectoral Operational Program – Transport’ or SOPT that is based on building new roads to connect Romania with its neighbours for primarily commercial reasons.
SOPT will improve inter-regional accessibility and enhance regional development in Romania, by facilitating the movement and promoting the use of locally available supplies and raw materials to industrialized regions. Benefits are also realized by facilitating access for labor force to these areas and for rural population services including health care in its coverage area. The proposed projects are of particular interest to Hill and in early August, the company was awarded a contract by the Romanian National Company of Motorways and National Roads to provide supervision services during design and construction of the 100-kilometer (62-mile) Lugoj-Deva Section of the A1 Motorway in Romania.
Hill’s scope of works is to provide supervisory services on Lot 3, which spans 21 kilometers (13 miles). The seven-year contract for Hill is worth $2 million. The A1 Motorway (Romanian: Autostrada A1) is planned to connect Bucharest with the Banat and Crisana regions in the west and will have a total length of about 581 kilometers. It will follow the route that will include Pitesti, Sibiu, Orastie, Deva, Timisoara and Arad, connecting with Hungary’s M43 Motorway near Nadlac.
The sections in service include a 110-kilometer long motorway linking Bucharest with Pitesti, the Sibiu – Saliste segment (33.6 kms), the Cunta – Deva segment (76.4 km), the Traian Vuia – Balint segment (17.1 km) and the Timisoara – Arad Motorway (54 kms, in the western part of Romania). The total length of the sections already opened to traffic is 290 kolimetres, with another 141 kilometers under construction. Currently, construction work is underway between Sibiu and Nadlac and several sections between Lugoj and Deva comprising a total length of 71.8 kilometers. Two segments covering about 39 kilometers between Nadlac and Arad work have now re-started after a suspension.
Road construction work has also started on the 22-kilometer segment between Saliste and Cunta and the remaining 26-kilometer segment between Lugoj and Timisoara. With a price tag of $655 million, the Romanian government has received 85% funding from the European Union Cohesion Fund for A1 Motorway. The remaining 15% is being funded by the government in Bucharest from its own internal resources.
For Hill, whose contract involves the 100-kilometer section between Lujog and Deva, the project execution has been divided into four sections with contractors already appointed. The design - build contracts, as per Yellow FIDIC rules, were signed in 2013 and are targeted for completion in 2018. For section 1 (27.4 km) contractors working on site include Tirena Scavi, Societa Italiana per Condotte D’Acqua and Cossi Construzioni. For section 2 (28.6 kms) there is a joint venture between J.V. Salini and SECOL. For section 3 (21.2 kms) there is a joint venture between SC Teloxim Con SRL, Comsa, Aldes Construcciones and Arcadis. For section 4 (22.2 kms) there is a joint venture between Technostrade and Spedition.
The Lugoj-Deva motorway section is part of the Pan-European Corridor IV, which starts in Germany and continues through to Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Residents of Lugoj city and Deva city will have a great reason to cheer when their section of the A1 motorway is completed, as the project will create many opportunities for employment.
By Ashok Dutta, Hill International