Contracts for Ston ring road and access roads to Peljesac bridge inked

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Contracts for the construction of access roads to the Peljesac Bridge and the Ston ring road were signed on Wednesday by the government and the Strabag and Avax companies, concluding the tender procedure which was ridden with appeals, and now construction can finally commence.

The Duboka-Sparagovici/Zaradeze section will be built by the Austrian Strabag company while the Ston ring road and the sub-sections Sparagovici/Zaradeze-Prapratno and Prapratno-Doli will be built by the Greek Avax company. All in all, this involves about 30 kilometres of access roads.

Strabag's price for its section amounts to HRK 478.3 million without VAT, while Avax's price for its section was HRK 511.5 million without VAT.

The section to be constructed by Avax should be completed in 28 months' time while Strabag's project will be completed in 33 months. Construction is expected to start within the next two and a half months.

Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic said that today's contract signing concludes the first phase of the tender and that construction of access roads can now begin, adding that he did not expect any problems during construction but that one never knew what can happen in the future.

Asked whether he was afraid things could go wrong, Butkovic said that considering the contractors, the process and documentation prepared by the Hrvatske Ceste road operator, the good designers and good supervision, he did not expect any major problems, as these are global companies.

He believes that the situation has been defined and does not expect any lawsuits to be lodged at the Administrative Court which, he said, would not prevent the construction of the access roads. He could not say whether there would be any time difference between the completion of the Peljesac Bridge itself and the access roads.

"I believe that everything will be completed in this financial perspective, because we have to do it. We have to spend this money by the end of 2023 and that will occur before that," said Butkovic.

He added that this is a demanding project and one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country.

Hrvatske Ceste CEO Josip Skoric said that total value of the contract signed today was a little less than HRK 990 million and, together with the bridge, the total amount of HRK 3.1 billion.

Avax director general Christos Ioannou said that the company was pleased to be able to participate in this project and that it will certainly be completed well and in time, while Strabag's director Veljko Nizetic underscored that Strabag considers this to be an important project and that Strabag has been present in Croatia for more than 20 years.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic attended the signing ceremony and wished the contractors the best of luck and speedy completion of works.

Both Strabag and Avax appealed against each other to the State Commission for Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures. The commission rejected both appeals.