Romania will be receiving roughly 1 billion Euros from the European Union to build the first motorway that crosses its mountains
Almost any debate on the dragging
process of modernizing Romania begins and ends with the visible failure of all
governments, irrespective of their political orientation, to build a reliable
network of motorways like it happened in all the ex-communist countries close
to the West.
More than 30 years on from the
demise of the communist dictatorship and after 13 years of EU membership,
Romania only has 800 kilometers of motorways, out of which 100 inherited from the
communist regime. None of these motorway routes is crossing its mountains
However, things started to move in
this direction as the European Commission on Thursday announced Romania would get
more than 875 million Euros worth of EU funds for the first stage of the
Sibiu-Pitesti motorway, which is going to cross the Southern Carpathians from
the north to the south.
The money Brussels approved
comes from the Cohesion Fund aimed at bridging development gaps between various
regions and EU countries. When complete, Romania will be relying on the first
motorway across the Carpathians linking its western regions to the east from
the port of Constanta to the border checkpoint of Nadlac. The section is
designed to close the Rhine-Danube 4th European corridor.
According to Lisa Ferreira, the
European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, when ready the project will
eliminate a major gap in the country's transport network, increase transport
safety and shorten distances implicitly cutting transportation costs for
passengers and goods. Furthermore, this uninterrupted connection route crossing
Romania will also benefit the entire Rhine-Danube corridor.
The aforementioned motorway is
divided into five sections and works have already commenced on one of
blueprint-construction contract has been signed for the 5th section
and blueprint works are to kick off for this route shortly.
Bidding procedures have already
started for the 4th section of the motorway, while documents for the
2nd and 3rd sections have been forwarded to the National
Agency for Public Procurement where bidding procedures are to begin soon.
Two other sections are going to
cross the Eastern Carpathians; the first one, called the Union Road, links the
cities of Targu Mures, Iasi and Ungheni and the second connects the cities of
Brasov and Bacau. Both sections are connecting Transylvania to Moldova,
Romania's poorest historic province, which has no kilometer of highway yet.
According to Prime Minister
Ludovic Orban, Romania's economic development hinges on upgrading the country's
infrastructure bringing it up to European standards. In another development,
the European Commission on Thursday approved another 578 million Euros for
Romania, to improve the country's response capabilities in case of natural
disasters and nuclear accidents. The money is to be used for the purchase of
new equipment and for the training of personnel.
(translated by bill)