Bucharest – the infrastructure construction site

Newsroom 19/10/2009 | 15:31

With infrastructure being one of Romania's investment priorities, it is no wonder several infrastructure works projects are being carried out in Bucharest at the same time. Some have been started recently while others go back several years, having met various obstacles along the way. These construction sites may keep drivers sitting longer than ever in Bucharest's traffic jams, but they offer a ray of hope to construction companies, which are no longer benefiting from the real estate boom. The state has announced EUR 10 billion of investments in infrastructure, and some of this money should go to the construction companies that win the tenders.
The Basarab flyover is one of the projects whose start dates back a long way, exactly three years to be precise. It has met opposition from non-governmental organizations which contested the expropriations needed to build the flyover. It even saw construction halted for a short period after a group of NGOs went to court and won, but it re-started with a government ordinance. The project is being built in partnership by construction companies Astaldi of Italy and FCC Construcion, which won the tender. The 2-kilometer long flyover, which is intended to ease the traffic around the North Railway Station area and connect Grozavesti and Nicolae Titulescu boulevards, was initially to have required just over EUR 100 million in investment. The sum has increased due to slight changes in the project and to more expensive construction materials, according to the municipality, and should now come in at around EUR 110 million. In May this year, one third of the works for the flyover had been completed, and it should be ready by the end of next year, say its constructors. Astaldi expects a EUR 100 million turnover from Romania this year, out of total group revenues of EUR 1.5 billion. The company is working on the Bucharest-Constanta highway project, and is also involved in the Spaiul Unirii works, improvements at Otopeni airport, as well as the Lia Manoliu stadium project. FCC holds a portfolio of projects of over EUR 200 million in Romania, such as the Cernavoda-Constanta and Comarnic-Brasov highways and the North Bucharest bypass, the Cluj-Livada and the Livada-Dej portions of the road. The company was planning to reach EUR 150 million in Romania by 2010. FCC is also involved in the Vidin-Calafat bridge over the Danube.
The Unirea passage was renovated in record time, with works having started on June 30, by a local company called Drum Art. It should have taken four months but was completed at the beginning of this month. Two other passages will also be renovated: Lujerului and Victoriei, both busy areas of Bucharest. Drum Art is controlled by construction company CCCF, which last year started a restructuring process, after being taken over by Wagma Holdings, a company controlled by Romanian businessman Horia Simu.
The Baneasa passage is being built by Portuguese construction company Lena. Works started two years ago and are now 75 percent completed. The project will cost the state budget EUR 13 million. The underground passage will be 870 meters long and should ease traffic congestion at the Baneasa airport intersection. Portuguese Lena Construcoes has been working on the Baneasa flyover and underground passage in Romania, as well as on several road works in Bucharest. The company started operating in Romania in 2004 and was expecting a EUR 30 million turnover in 2007.
Works in the old part of the town, the Lipscani area, started three years ago. The project was commissioned to Sedesa Construction, which is to revamp 14 streets in the old part of Bucharest, of which only some have been finished so far. According to Sedesa, three quarters of the works are done. The project has been held up several times during this period due to lack of payments from the municipality, while in its turn the municipality says the contractor was behind schedule. The entire contract is worth EUR 26.9 million. Works should be completed by July 2010, with a previous deadline set for the end of September this year.

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