The Pro Infrastructura Association wrote a post on Facebook on Monday criticizing the public-private-partnership project approved last week by the Dancila government for the A3 Bucharest-Ploiesti-Brasov highway, saying that it represents an “imminent disaster” due to the route crossing through the middle of Prahova river and across the tourist resorts on the Prahova Valley.
The association says that building the highway based on the 2002 feasibility study would be an “environmental disaster” for the Prahova Valley and have negative consequences for tourism.
“The project is not worthy of a civilized European country,” Pro Infrastructura wrote on Facebook. “Although the highway is included in the General Transport Masterplan with eligible European funds, the author of the study somehow exclude this option. The state budget fund alternative is also eliminated without any careful analysis. Adopting the PPP version from the start is bizarre, as it is known that PPP financing is significantly more expensive than the usual options, adding a constant burden on the state for many years after inauguration and being included on the budget deficit from the beginning,” according to Pro Infrastructura.
They add that the highway route is difficult to analyse due to “grammatical and logic errors and hollow language”.
“The route ‘knits along’ the Prahova River with several crossings which require deviations, deforestation and the demolition of many properties built in recent years. Even if noise-absorbing panels are installed, the noise generated by the cars would create continuous discomfort as the valley won’t allow the noise to dissipate. The document doesn’t mention anything about taking the highway from Predeal to Rasnov. Furthermore, the project also include the Rasnov-Cristian segment which has already been contracted and where works will soon begin,” the Association writes.
Pro Infrastructura also notes concern about the way the project will be assigned to bidders, as constructors who are interested will provide offers that will include a list of quantities based on the technical solution given in the 2002 feasibility study, and after the contract is signed, the winner and the national road company (CNAIR) will assign an independent expert to make field investigations in order to update the information. The association says that the possible changes will lead to a re-evaluation of the price and that the constructor will have to create a technical project that results in the quantity lists identified by the independent expert.
“Such a complicated mechanism has only been experienced once in Romania, with predictable consequences: the Bechtel contract, where the initial estimate of EUR 2.2 billion for the entire 450 km-long Brasov-Bors highway turned into EUR 1.3 billion for just 52 km between Campia Turzii and Gilau, plus unfinished works between Suplacu de Barcau and Bors. The largest part of the risk is directed by the Romanian state towards the private partner, which creates an opportunity for bidders to hike up the prices to cover the risks,” the association’s representatives write.
PM Viorica Dancila said last week that the contract for the A3 highway should be signed by the end of the year and that the construction should be finalized in a maximum of four years for a total cost of EUR 1.36 billion.