In 2016 no progress whatsoever was made in Romania as far as motorway construction was concerned.
In 2016 no progress whatsoever was made in Romania as far as motorway construction was concerned, although it had been initially announced that 18 kms of motorway would be in service. At present, Romania only has 700 kilometers of motorway open to traffic and a number of big problems. One of the problems is the fact that motorway segments alternate with national road segments that have only one lane for each direction.
Then there is the fact that Romania does not have a motorway crossing the Carpathians, something that carmakers such as Ford in Craiova, in the south, and Dacia, in Mioveni, have repeatedly asked for. Nevertheless, ring roads for several cities were built last year and 22 km of motorway were repaired following landslides.
The head of the Pro Infrastructure Association, Ionut Ciurea, tells us more about it: ”At present, if we take into account the 18 km of motorway that were supposed to be ready in 2016, Romania has 220 kilometers of motorway commissioned to construction companies. In most cases construction works are under way. Each construction contract has its specificity and the companies in charge need a very good management in order to avoid bureaucratic problems that usually cause huge delays. In 2016, one of the most important achievements in terms of motorway construction was the fact that construction works were resumed, following the unblocking of contracts. The most important construction site that was unblocked last year was that of the A10 motorway, that totals 70 kilometers, connecting Sebes to Turda. Segments 3 and 4 of this motorway were unblocked. The problem was that construction works were conducted here without the necessary permits being granted, so it took a Government Order, the famous Government Order No. 7, to solve most of the bureaucratic problems and also the legal problems emerging from the fact that in that case the construction license had not been granted. In short, the works conducted there were illegal, and it was the Government Order that conferred legal ground for the works already conducted, including those running on European funds.”
But what does 2017 have in store? Ionut Ciurea again: “Unfortunately, in 2017 there will be no more than 50 new kilometers of motorway built, plus the 18 kms that were supposed to be ready in 2016. In short, we will have 50 km made up of three different segments, as follows: two segments on the A10 motorway, namely segments 3 and 4 between Sebes and Turda, totaling 28 km, and another 22 km on segment 3 between Lugoj and Deva, connecting the localities of Holdea and Ilia. If we add the 18 km from 2016 there is a total of 68 km of motorway to be built in 2017.”
The remaining 40 kilometers linking Sibiu to the Nadlac 2 cross-border point will not be finished this summer, leaving the highway linking the center of the country to the Romanian-Hungarian border incomplete.
Here is Ionut Ciurea with the details: “This summer the segment linking Marginea to Holdea will not be completed. The segment is famous because it provides for the building of motorway underpasses allowing for the migration of bears. This 15-km-long segment still lacks a proper tunnel design. The earliest completion date, provided we don’t encounter any technical problems in building the tunnels, is 2020, 2021. Additionally, we won’t be able to complete the fourth segment on the Lugoj-Deva motorway linking Ilia to Deva or Soimus, at kilometer 25. So were we to add 25 and 15, we will be 40 kilometers short for the Sibiu-Nadlac highway”.
The new Transport Minister, Razvan Cuc, has issued no deadlines for the highway building projects currently running, and has made no promises regarding the building of highways. “We have a phased-out governing program which focuses on road, rail, naval and air transport. I don’t want to rush into setting a deadline now, because the legislation on public procurement for big infrastructure must also be revised.
There must be a change, because there are many heavy procedures and other things that need to be changed in the legislation” said the transport minister. Asked by reporters how many kilometers of motorway he could promise, given that nothing was inaugurated last year, the minister said: “I cannot promise anything. Works are pretty advanced on the sections that you know: Sebes – Turda and Lugoj – Deva. We are working on that”.
During hearings in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies’ expert committees, Razvan Cuc said that Romania’s transport master plan would be voted on in parliament in the first quarter of this year. As regards the Pitesti-Sibiu motorway, which will cross the southern Carpathians, he said that the necessary studies were yet to be completed in order to carry on with the project. Among other things, the document provides for the building of some 6,800 km of road by 2030, of which 1,512 km of motorway and 1,836 km of expressway. Some of the big projects planned for the coming period are the Pitesti-Sibiu, Comarnic-Brasov and Targu Neamt-Iasi-Ungheni motorways.