Bechtel highway stuck on land issues, PM says no to extra funding

Newsroom 27/10/2008 | 16:09

“We don't make exceptions for Bechtel, even if it is an American company. It has received high sums of money this year as a down payment, according to the contract, and it has to deliver something,” said the Romanian PM.
Bechtel, on the other hand, says it has received only EUR 241 million from the Romanian state this year, of the promised EUR 300 million, although it had asked for double the amount. Bechtel representatives also mentioned problems with ownership of the land required to build the highway. The American company is currently renting the land from the owners in order to continue works on the road. The firm says expropriations have been finalized on 85 percent of sector 2B between Campia Turzii and Cluj Vest, and 62 percent on sector 3C, from Suplacu de Barcau to Bors. Moreover, the firm said the pieces of expropriated land were not all adjoining, which is putting a brake on works.
Given perfect work conditions and all the necessary land, Bechtel says it could build 35km of highway per year, and that by 2013 it would require 15,000 workers to finish the 415km project. “Bechtel has in its portfolio infrastructure projects all over the world, and they have been finished,” said Bogdan Sgarcitu, spokesman for Bechtel in Romania.
The Brasov-Bors highway project started in 2004, when the EUR 2.24 billion contract was signed. The contract was re-assessed in 2005, when a new government stepped in. Bechtel completed the first five kilometers of highway of the 25km sector connecting Gilau and Campia Turzii in summer this year.
Corina Saceanu

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